(BPT) - Fall is here, which means cooler weather and outdoor family activities like apple picking, youth sports and more. It can also mean pollen and allergens (like ragweed) are in the air. If your children suffer from seasonal allergies, it can be tough for them to enjoy spending time outside. Fortunately, parenting influencer Bethanie Garcia, ZYRTEC® partner and mom of five active kids, most of whom suffer from seasonal allergies, offers her tips to help parents and kids enjoy the fall weather as a family without allergy symptoms holding them back.
"When it comes to outdoor activities, I suggest balancing spontaneity with preparation for a winning combination," says Garcia. "Most of all, just let your kids be kids, try new things together and have fun! If your kids see you having fun, they'll have fun, too."
Here are Garcia’s top five tips to have fun with the whole family this fall:
1. Set up an outdoor picnic for snacks or lunchtime — and if the kids are old enough, they can help prep the food, too! Stick to easy-to-assemble sandwiches, cut-up fruits and veggies or hard-boiled eggs — whatever your kids like, plus maybe one or two new things to try! In the fall, I like to bring apple cider donuts and apple cider as a treat for the kids. You can find a local park or just make your yard into a picnic hangout with a colorful blanket on the grass.
2. Always have an activity bag ready to go — Last minute plans always pop up and with five kids, I like to make sure I’m prepared for anything! I always like to keep a "go bag" by the front door packed with all our necessities including reusable water bottles, blankets, snacks and games. Plus, with most of my kids having seasonal allergies, I have new Children’s ZYRTEC® Dye-Free Chewables on hand. We’ve used ZYRTEC® for years and the new chewable form is so easy for them to take on-the-go while providing 24-hours of relief from my children's worst allergy symptoms.
3. Create an outdoor scavenger hunt — You can make a scavenger hunt ahead of time by hiding funny, unexpected items or toys around your yard, but you can also just use things you might see in your neighborhood for the hunt and turn it into a nature walk. With the leaves changing, can your kids find different colored leaves or acorns in the backyard? A pro tip — if you have kids with seasonal allergies, make sure to keep a basket outside the front door for your kids to leave their shoes. It helps to limit any pollen tracked inside the house and can really help to minimize symptoms.
4. If inclement weather is in play, create an indoor art studio — Fall weather can be unpredictable, so I like to have indoor activities ready just in case. We always keep art materials like paint, playdough or chalk on hand to create fun projects. To add some unique elements, I let the kids quickly run outside to grab leaves, sticks, acorns and more to incorporate into their art. Another pro allergy mom tip: make sure to have your kids wash their hands so any pollen or dust doesn’t end up on their faces or carry into other parts of the house.
5. Host an outdoor movie night — All you need is a projector, the side of your house or garage and a bedsheet, and voila! Get out beanbag chairs, pillows and blankets and pop some popcorn for a great family evening together. Make sure to dress for the occasion since fall nights can get a little chilly. I like to bring out extra flannels, hats and blankets to make the kids more comfortable. Since we usually set the movie up under a tree, the hats and blankets also help to protect the kids from any pollen that may fall from the trees.
When it comes to getting your family outdoors, feel free to add your own twist and make it unique to your family’s interests! Want to help your kids enjoy more outdoor play time? Try new Children’s ZYRTEC® Dye-Free Chewables for kids 2 years old and up that are easy to take on the go for all your adventures. They are free of alcohol, dyes and sugar and available in-store at most mass retailers, drug and grocery stores in the allergy aisle, and online at Amazon.com. Plus, for any parents who are allergy sufferers, check out the new ZYRTEC® Chewables for adults.