Cold water immersion-like activities for children

Cold water immersion-like activities for children

In preschool age, children are more susceptible to infections due to various reasons such as joining the
collective or changes in weather. This phenomenon is particularly common during the preschool years,
affecting both children and their parents who may experience various infections. We'll explore methods to
bolster the immune systems of children (and us parents). Alongside fundamental practices such as ensuring
children receive adequate sleep, maintaining a well-balanced diet with nutritious foods, following good
hygiene routines, and promoting physical activity, the concept of cold water immersion also plays a vital role
in supporting children's immunity. Instead of immediately thinking about those daring "polar bears" who take
the plunge into frozen lakes, let's consider what activities and routines can help children naturally acclimate
to winter and overcome their fear of it. In our specific regions and cultural practices, we tend to keep our
little ones excessively bundled up from the moment they are born. This leads to a variety of subconscious
anxieties that push us to pile on extra layers of clothing at the slightest hint of cold or wind (for instance, we
often add an extra layer of clothing to children when, in reality, they could use one less layer since they tend
to be more active.).

Here are some reasons why children handle the cold better than adults:
Playfulness - Children are constantly engaged in play. We all know that when we're playing, we're fully
absorbed in the activity, actively learning and discovering.

Constant Movement - Children are always on the move, whether it's running, jumping, or hopping. This
movement isn't limited to sports alone. In contrast, as adults, we tend to either engage in sports or stand still,
feeling the cold.

Handling Worries - Children have a simpler approach to worries; they tend to let them go more easily. Unlike
adults, they don't hold onto their fears as tightly.

Presence - In cold weather, children often exhibit greater presence than adults. This heightened presence is
closely linked to their innate playfulness.

Attitude Towards Consequences - Children either aren't fully aware of consequences or they don't place as
much importance on them, in contrast to adults.

Brown Fat - Children have a higher proportion of brown fat in their bodies compared to adults. Brown fat
generates heat, which can be beneficial in colder conditions. However, when toughening up children, it's
essential to proceed with caution and allow them to rely on their natural inclinations

So, in what ways can we help children build resilience?
Embracing the outdoors, regardless of the weather, stands as one of the most natural ways to build up
resilience. That's why our kindergarten follows the practice of heading to the playground or taking walks in all
conditions, adhering to the saying: "There's no such thing as bad weather, only unprepared children." Apart
from fortifying their resilience, enduring occasional "discomfort" offers several advantages to children. At
times, children might resist wearing essentials like hats or winter jackets. In such scenarios, suggesting they
carry the jacket with them proves effective. Eventually, after experiencing a brief moment of cold without the
jacket, children often choose to wear it themselves. Providing children with firsthand exposure to the cold is a
valuable experience. Children also benefit from such situations. Let's consider entrusting them a bit more and
allowing them to gauge their comfort level (whether they feel cold or warm) and make decisions accordingly.
When using water as a method of building resilience, it's vital to exercise caution. There are several
fundamental principles that should not be overlooked, especially for preschool-age children and older
individuals: avoid wetting the hair or head, refrain from the activity when unwell, incorporate enough
physical activity afterward, and, most importantly, keep the experience playful and enjoyable. Options include
taking a bath, showering, soaking feet in a stream, or running barefoot through the morning dew in the grass
in front of the house.

A few tips on how to get started with children:
•Spending time in the fresh air in any weather and barefoot walks
- Sleeping with an open window until late autumn - Frequent ventilation of rooms - Do not overheat rooms -
Adequate clothing - Short runs in the winter months - Sports activities in a T-shirt and shorts
• And a few tips for those who have already started with cold water immersion-like activities:
• - Running and walking barefoot in the snow
- Rubbing with a towel moistened with cold water - Pouring cold water on the body - Games in the bathroom
(add a few ice cubes with toys to the bath) - Entering the lake for a few seconds - Sauna
• Finally, let's summarize the main benefits of building body resilience using cold water techniques:
• - Stimulates the immune system
- Unique vascular massage - For Adults: Easing stress, reinforcing determination, instilling trust in one's child
and their instincts. For Children: Cultivating mental adaptability, affording children their personal experiences
and decision-making opportunities, nurturing self-confidence in their own bodies and instincts. It's vital to
remember that we are role models for our children. If we harbor fear of winter and frequently fret about our
child's attire and health, it's probable that our children will also develop a distaste for cold weather.
Consistency in the toughening process is equally important. It's essential to keep in mind that even though
we may build resilience in our children, it doesn't guarantee they won't experience illness. However, it
significantly increases the likelihood that they will manage common colds more effectively and recover more
• Finally, one more tip for adults and children about building body resilience using cold water
Zachariáš a studená voda (written by Daniel Rušar , illustrated by Adela Režná )

• Daniel Rušar, Zachariáš a studená voda