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Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

It was inevitable.  We live in Canada, we know Toronto, we cherished those 10 degree days in October that we knew couldn’t last forever.  But now that the temps have dropped we have to face reality: winter is coming.  Will we continue to go out everyday?  Yes!  As long as the wind chill doesn’t drop below -15C, we will be playing outside because fresh air and physical activity are so beneficial for children even throughout the winter months.  Yes, there will be runny noses and yes, there will be cold fingers and toes but having all the right winter clothing for our children will make all the difference between rolling around and having fun in the snow versus standing still and whimpering from the chill.  Here are some key things to consider when stocking up on essential winter gear:

JACKETS – should be waterproof and withstand temperatures to at least -15C.  Attached hoods make a great backup for lost hats and are easy to put on for children who tend to take their hats off anyway.

HATS – those with attached earflaps that tie under the chin are more likely to stay on and keeps faces warm too.  For older children, face masks are great because they warm their necks, faces and heads all in one!

MITTENS & GLOVES – mitts are warmer than gloves, and are easier for children to put on, but everyone has their own preference.  Whichever you choose, they should be waterproof, especially important for building snowmen!  Mittens that have Velcro or zippers up the sides are easier to put on and gloves/mitts that have long elastic wrist guards are fantastic since they stay on hands and keep out the snow.  Mitten strings or clips are also important for making sure you don’t have to replace 4 pairs in one winter (as some of us have been known to do).

BOOTS – waterproof and lined boots will make a world of difference.  Those that are simple to pull on and off or use Velcro straps are easiest for children to put on by themselves, but if they’re too big or too loose they will fall off in the snow and make for very wet socks and very cold feet 🙁

SNOW PANTS – hopefully these can wait awhile but as soon as even the lightest dusting of snow falls the children will be rolling on the ground and wanting to make snow angels.  Again, waterproof snow pants are essential, and those with adjustable bibs all the better since snow can’t get in where jackets end and snow pants begin.  Snow pants with zippers at the bottom of each leg are easier to fit over bulky boots, and those with an inner garter at the ankles help keep snow out of boot tops.

**SCARVES – these can actually present a choking hazard especially for little ones who are likely to run and get their scarves caught on or pulled by something (or someone!).  A better option is circular neck warmers or face masks.

And finally,

CHOICE – If it’s doable, giving your child at least a (little) say in what they will be wearing, will lessen the hassles of gearing up for winter.  Getting dressed for the cold outdoors is a production that can be significantly impaired by a hat he doesn’t like or boots that don’t feel good on her feet.  If children get to make choices from the get go, (e.g. “Pink mittens or purple gloves?”) then they will be more likely to dress themselves without complaint.

All geared up and ready to go?  Don’t forget to label EVERYTHING, use the washroom before pulling on those snow pants, and let the snowy cold fun begin 🙂

–  Contributed by Valerie Ang, mother of 4 and Montessori teacher who has helped dress countless children to play in the cold, yet admittedly still forgets the “toilet before snow pants” golden rule.