Fair   60.0F  |  Forecast »

Teach Kids to Shovel Snow

No snow blower? No problem. Give the children a little lesson in how to scoop away the white stuff this winter – and have some frosty fun, too.

The first time my daughter Abby, then 6, asked if she could help shovel snow, I was thrilled. Not for the reasons you might expect. I figured her enthusiasm would wane once she saw the untouched white blanket that was our front yard. I knew the allure of building a snowman would trump our shoveling duties.

Still, I looked forward to sharing one of my secret pleasures of wintertime – clearing the driveway. It's true: I enjoy shoveling snow (just don't tell my husband).

While my neighbors might break out their blowers and finish the work in half the time it takes me, I enjoy the methodical task of going back and forth on the pavement and creating piles of snow on either side, watching my breath make wisps into the chilly air and, most important, downing hot chocolate inside once I'm done. And I wanted to pass along my love of shoveling to my daughter.

So just how do you teach an excited 6-year-old to use a shovel without getting yourself whacked with snow – or worse, the shovel – in the process? I've learned a few tricks, and while my now-9-year-old is no pro, she seems to enjoy shoveling almost as much as I do.

A shovel of one's own

Your child should have her own shovel. Don't expect to be sharing yours. Look for smaller-sized shovels or light, plastic ones at the store that are easier for your child to handle. Make sure you purchase a well-built, sturdy shovel for yourself – preferably with a non-stick blade on the end.

Stretch it out

You've probably already heard that you should do a few warm-up exercises before you go out to shovel – after all, lifting heaps of snow is strenuous exercise. So touch your toes and do a few side bends and twists before heading out. Not only will you be better prepared for shoveling, but your child will also have fun exercising with mom or dad.

Go in layers

Even if the temperature barely hovers around 30 degrees (or less!), you're going to get warm after a few minutes shoveling – so too will your child. While it's fine to shed the bulky jacket, have a warm, long-sleeved shirt or sweater underneath. Concentrate your thicker garments on areas where you'll get the most cold: your feet, ears, neck and, most important, your hands. Invest in waterproof gloves for both you and your child.

Push; don't lift

Now, you're ready for shoveling! The proper way to remove snow (so that your back isn't sore for a week afterward) is to push it from one side to another – not to lift each heap. If your child is anything like mine, she'll probably immediately start dipping her shovel into the snow then hurling it over her shoulder. If she does that too long, she's going to lose interest quickly because her arms and back will get tired fast.

Help her understand that it's easier to push the snow to the side with the shovel. Ask her to let you handle any heavy lifting. And when you do lift, set a good example by bending at your knees – instead of at the waist.

Break it up

Shoveling is tedious, so take breaks after every 15 minutes or so and enjoy the snow. Try making a snow angel or two, or have a snowball fight (just explain that faces are off-limits!).

Give out assignments

If you tend to be a snow-shoveling perfectionist (and you know who you are), you have a certain method for clearing your driveway. You might always shovel from the top of the drive down or perhaps, like me, favor diagonal lines. Instead of trying to integrate your child's beginner efforts into your own carefully laid plans, let him have his own area. Have him work on clearing the sidewalk or front walk while you work nearby. Chances are if he feels ownership over an area, he'll work harder to do his part.

Let 'em play

So your child is ready to move on to building his fort after 10 (or five) minutes of helping you shovel. That's OK. It's more important for him to enjoy the experience than to expertly clear the driveway or walkway. He'll be more likely to keep up the activity later. But whatever you do, don't forget to celebrate your efforts afterwards with a couple cups of hot cocoa!

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Passport Rules for Kids

Passport Rules for Kids

If you're planning on traveling with your family outside of the country, they'll need a passport. Find out what you need and how to get passports for children.

Tips for Saving Cash on Flights

Tips for Saving Cash on Flights

Find out how your family can save money when flying abroad and in the country.

Tips for Traveling Internationally with Your Children

Tips for Traveling Internationally with Your Children

Thought about taking your kids for a trip abroad? You should! Here are tips to help make your cultural excursion easier – and cheaper – than you might think.

Staying Home Alone: How to Know When Your Child is Ready

Staying Home Alone: How to Know When Your Child is Ready

Whether you just want to run an errand or need to hit the gym for a break, it could be time to let your tween stay home alone. Here are a few ways to know your kid is prepared.

Craft Roundup: Get Ready for the Beach

Craft Roundup: Get Ready for the Beach

Whether you're hitting the pool or lake, southeast Michigan is packed with watery summer fun. These projects are inspired by (and ready for) this very topic!

Social Savvy: Raising Kids Who Can Make Connections

Social Savvy: Raising Kids Who Can Make Connections

At each stage of development, there are things parents can do for their kids to help them with social skills and making friendships.

Explore the Grand Canyon in Arizona

Explore the Grand Canyon in Arizona

If you haven't seen the wonder that is the Grand Canyon, you owe it to yourself and your kids to go.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement