Parents. How do you bundle up your kids in winter?

When I’m in stores I’m surprised at how bundled up children are. Not just coats but hats, mittens, and sometimes boots. Often these kids are cranky and fussy and I think it has to do with the fact they are hot. I know from personal experience its difficult to dress and undress kids so its just easier to leave everything on even though the store is plenty warm.

Now with my own kids if its a situation where we are going somewhere by car and the only exposure to the cold will be 1 minute or less when going to and from a heated car to a heated building, we dont have them wear coats (although we do keep them in the car). We quit pushing coats around age 8-10. Even when they were younger I was always quick to take their coats off. My feeling is ones body needs to learn to self regulate temperatures which is why I, being from Dakotas, can handle cold temps better than most.

Now in my growing up my parents were always big on wearing coats and hats because if not, you’d catch cold (they thought). And granted back then a cars heater didnt work so well and when we lived in a rural area there was always the danger of breakdowns and being stranded. My parents are still really freaked when we go someplace we all dont put coats on. Again, we do keep a set in the car for emergencies.

Now kids nowadays, they really push it. About jr. high age its considered uncool to wear a coat and even the kids outside on safety patrol wear only a hoodie. Surprisingly alot still wear shorts to school even in winter.

So I’d like to ask the parents, if your going someplace and you know the car will be heated, do you bundle your kids up? How much? Is it a fight to get your teen to dress warm?

My daughters’ mother follows the same philosophy as the mother in A Christmas Story. She firmly believes that going outside in the winter, no matter how briefly, requires just as much preparation as a space walk.

I personally couldn’t care less even if they wanted to wear shorts in a blizzard (sometimes it comes close to that). My philosophy is that they are free to get as cold as they want to unless it causes a medical emergency. If they make a bad choice, that is their own fault and maybe they will learn something to dress more appropriately the next time.

My mom had the same attitude, because she’s always cold. If it’s less than 70F, she’s in a sweater.

My brother and I, however, are mobile heaters. I can easily go outside and shovel the walk or take the snow off the car wearing only jeans/leggings, boots, a fleece, and gloves. No heavy coat, no scarf.

Anyway, I notice around here that the kids aren’t overdressed for the weather. Maybe a New England thing – the locals have layering down pat.

I had to set up guidelines for my youngest son when he was in elementary school. “If the high temperature for the day is less than 50, or the overnight low is less than 40, you have to wear long pants to school-I don’t want to get a call from Child Protective Services that I did not dress my child properly for the weather”. (I did buy him the pants with zippers at the knees, so I’m sure he shortened his pants after he left the house) And I have a newspaper photo of him from his college days-he is riding his unicycle in the rain with an umbrella over his head-it was 34 degrees and he is the only person in the photo wearing shorts.

My philosophy has always been to provide and encourage the “appropriate” clothes for the weather but not to fight very hard on the assumption that the child can tell when he (they’re all boys) is cold. All complaints of being cold are met with the suggestion to put on more clothes.

Results: 16 year old wears a heavy wool coat through most seasons (I think this is mostly a style thing, it is a a cool looking coat). It can get quite hot here and I am surprised he has not collapsed from heat stroke.

14 year old wears mostly shorts and short sleeves with no outerwear in all weather. He is consistently the most healthy of the children and never seems to catch a cold or anything else.

9 year old seems to dress appropriately for the weather, wearing a jacket if it is cold, taking it off if he gets warm with an unusual affection for hats and gloves, pulling from our collection indiscriminately which leads to panda hat/cheetah print scarf/hot pink gloves/lime green jacket ensembles or similar.

My kid’s a teen. I’ve always had him dress warmly (coat, hat, scarf, gloves, boots if snowy) and now that he can choose his outerwear, he still dresses that way if it’s in the forties or below.

Parents. How do you bundle up your kids in winter?

Duct tape and rope, same as summer.

I stopped pushing coats when the kids were old enough to tell me whether or not they were cold. On a camping trip last year the temperature ranged from 30-45 all weekend, and my oldest (8 at the time) made due with a sweatshirt and jeans the whole time. My youngest (now 4) prefers to be bundled up, even indoors, but it was around that age that I stopped forcing any of them to wear coats if they didn’t want to. Sometimes I’d make them bring it if I thought we’d be outside a lot but for the most part I’m perfectly content to let them be cold.

We have blankets (regular + emergency) in the car for breakdowns, but with cell phones and our mostly urban range it’s not a huge concern for us.