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Afraid of the snow

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

My 17 month old is absolutely afraid of the snow.  We've been working on it because I *need* to get out of the house, and since we don't have a car, there's a lot of walking/sledding involved.  Im in Minnesota, we've already received close to 3 feet of snow. 

He starts screaming the minute I take out his snow suit (but he's fine when i grab his fleece, which he knows means we're going to take a cab somewhere!)  He loved the snow the first time he saw/touched it, but he's been afraid ever since. 

I've let him play with the snowsuit indoors, he's worn it for short periods in the house and things were getting better.  I've been taking him outside, keeping him in my arms, letting him get used to the snow slowly.  We hang out in areas that have pretty much been cleared, there's only a little bit of snow left on the ground.

I thought he was getting better, until his dad took him outside today (I was on the phone and told them i would catch up in a minute).  DH forgot DS was afraid of the snow and put him down like he would do indoors.  No problem, for the first 10 seconds.  Then DS tries to take a step and falls face first into the snow bank.   His whole head was in the snow and he couldn't get up on his own, DH fished him out pretty quickly.  Needless to say, he's been absolutely terrified of the snow after that.  Even sitting on the snow free porch, on my lap, was not an option. 

I feel bad for DS, he's had such a scare...  but i dont know how to help him get over his fear so that we can continue to have a life between now and april!

post #2 of 10

We live in Northern Europe and have had snow for over a month now, maybe two.


Would it help if you carried her on your back (in case it is not so slippery you are uncomfortable) and put her in the carrier already when you were still inside.


While the snow suit issue can of course be related to the fear of snow, most kids I know here don't like to put on their snowsuits. They are, well, big, and make you super hot while you are still inside. I would let her go out on the porch wearing just the fleece and then put the snowsuit on top while she is already in the cool air, possibly even getting cold.


There is no rule that says 17 month-old must play in the snow or be anywhere close to it. This sounds to me a bit like you (both parents) have been looking forward to this new phase in the kid's life and want her to like all the snow. There needs to be no anxiety about this, as she will not be afraid of it, later... She just needs time. Once again I would recommend carrying her, so she feels secure and knows you are not trying to force her into walking on the snow or playing with it.


post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Haha, no, we weren't looking foward to it.  The first time, sure, we took him outside and took a few pictures of him exploring the snow, but that was about it.  It's just that we have to leave the house sometimes...  Stroller isnt an option because the sidewalks often don't get cleared (or at least not wide enough) and for now wearing him isn't an option either because im 39 weeks pregnant (between not being able to see ground/ice where i put my feet, and pretty significant back pain, i've had to stop wearing him in the last few weeks).  At least the pregnancy shouldn't be an issue for much too long!

post #4 of 10

DD 18mo is also afraid of the snow & does not really like her snowsuit either.  I "solve" that by back carrying her but it sounds like you really need another solution.


Could you bring the sled inside too, and leave that and the snowsuit laying around so he can play with both & get used to each other?


Or maybe could you have special "sled toys" that he can play with only when you go outside?


Or could you dress him in many thinner layers (wool, fleece?) instead of a snowsuit?  I have wondered how much of my daughter's not liking the snow is that she feels unsteady because of the snowsuit.


post #5 of 10

You might just need to lay off the snow for awhile.  It sounds like he's really afraid right now.  I'm not saying don't go outside, but I think you should stop pushing him to play/enjoy the snow.  It's kinda like a toddler who had a bad experience in a pool trying to be made to like the water again. 


My son did not like the snow last year at all.  I never pushed it, we just didn't go out to play in it.  This year (he's 2) he now loves it.  I did last year, bring some snow in from outside for him to play with.  (His main issues were being bundled up, and not being able to walk/move effectively last year). 


If you still want to go outside, maybe just go for a stroll in a stroller.  You said a regular stroller isn't an option, but what about getting a snow stroller?  You also said you're 39 weeks pregnant.  You'll likely not really want to be bundling up a toddler and a newborn to go out too often buy yourself (at least not at first).  So, you really only have a couple more months to get buy before it at least thaws a bit.  Next year your toddler will probably have no problems with the snow.  (After so many months of no snow, he'll likely forget about his spill next winter.)

post #6 of 10

I believe the OP is using a sled for transportation - so it's not about wanting him to play in the snow but a practical matter of doing errands, etc?


I've been thinking about this more....  could you bring a tub of snow into the kitchen and leave it there without saying anything so he can encounter the stuff in a safer environment at more of his own pace.  Or when dad takes him out, could he backcarry your DS?


I think it also could be the age.  DD seems to have gotten a little less adventurous as she has gotten a bit more aware.

post #7 of 10
I don't live in the snow, but I clicked on this thread because when my oldest was around that age we went to play in the snow and she was miserable! Screamed and was terrified of the stuff. We realized it was 2 things: she didn't like the way it crunched under her feet and how unstable she felt. Too slippery! I have to wonder if you can narrow it down like that with your son, maybe figure out exactly what it is he's scared of? It sounds like it may be the falling. That would let you comfort him and reassure him about that one, scariest aspect.

Also, can you go out for just a few minutes at a time? I know it's a huge pain getting him all bundled up, but maybe if you start off slow and build up his confidence, he'll feel better? Start off cautiously, holding his hand, and don't let go until he's ready for that.
post #8 of 10

one vote for the snowsuit being a big part of the problem and another vote for bringing some snow inside to play with in a tub.

i teach 2 year-olds and even in my outdoors-loving group there are a few who literally melt with unhappiness when faced with snowsuit/snowpants/boots...all that.

post #9 of 10

All three of my kids hated snow/being outside in the winter at that age. A big part of it was how hard it was for them to get around in all that winter gear... it's a lot for a little body! Especially when you factor in big, bulky snow boots into the mix. DS2 was the same age last winter and he screamed bloody murder every time we put him down outside. He didn't mind riding in the sled but if he had to walk all bundled up, he would scream. He's a lot better this winter at 2.5 YO, he's bigger and the bulk of his winter gear doesn't bother him. He still has problems getting around in fresh snow (the snow is up to my thighs on me) so we've shoveled out some paths for him in the yard for him to get around when we're outside. Now he screams when it's time to come in! He loves playing in the snow this year!


Is your DS's snowsuit a one piece or two separate pieces? Is it possible it could be uncomfortable for him to wear, hence the screaming when you take it out? While I like the practicality of a one piece suit (less places for snow to get in!), we can never find one that fits my kids comfortably so we do separate ski pants (bib style) and parkas.

post #10 of 10

Just read through all the replies after posting my initial reply and Spring Lily has a good suggestion about taking him out for a few minutes at a time. We did that with DS2 last year and while it was a total PITA to get him and myself bundled up, it helped him lose his fear of the snow over the winter. Do you have any older children your DS can watch having fun in the snow or go to a nearby playground so your DS can see kids playing in the snow? Seeing his older brother and sister playing in the snow and having fun really helped DS2. We also have some of those big Tonka trucks that the kids use in the sandbox... I keep them out over the winter and since they're one of DS2's favorite toys, they were a help in getting him to want to be put down outside. He would push them around on our cleared sidewalks.


I know how you feel mama... we're in Manitoba so we know snow and last year I was afraid we were going to end up spending most of winter indoors. When there's snow on the ground 5 months of the year, it's hard when a child is afraid of the stuff and doesn't want to go outside as a result. Just start out with a few minutes each day and increase it as he gets more comfortable.

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