Before you send your child off to daycare or school, it’s critical to check the winter weather forecast and plan, dress, and pack accordingly. Planning ahead will help keep your little one safe, healthy, and comfortable throughout their day. Here are some vital winter tips to ensure your children stay warm.
Dressing Younger Children for the Cold
Since younger children are more susceptible to the harsh winter temperatures, you must protect them from their body’s rapid heat loss. Watching for signs they are cold is also essential, as they don’t tend to realize just how cold they are getting. Whether they are staying indoors, playing outside, or moving from one to another frequently, dressing accordingly can help keep their little body temperatures regulated.
Layering Your Little One
Dressing in several thin layers is tip number one for any age, but is incredibly helpful for infants and younger children. When layering clothing, add on an extra layer than you would typically wear. The pockets of air between each layer help trap heat, keeping your young one guarded against the wintery conditions. Layering also allows easy transition as body temperature fluctuates as you move from indoors to out, car to buildings. You’ll save your child the discomfort of bouncing between freezing and feeling overheated.
Be sure not to layer excessively, as this can cause your child to overheat and sweat. Sweat can make them cold, as it dampens their clothing and keeps their body chilled when the cold hits.
Dressing for Outdoor Play
If you know your child will be playing outside, forego the cotton attire. Cotton tends to absorb sweat, chilling your child’s body while they play. Instead, use materials like fleece to eliminate sweat absorption and keep them nice and warm as they play.
Don’t forget to protect areas that may be prone to frigid temperatures and possible frostbite. Bundle them sensibly with accessories including:
- Thick, non-cotton socks
- Waterproof shoes or boots
- Hats, preferably with ear coverings, or add earmuffs to help protect them
- Gloves or mittens – waterproof if playing in the snow
Additional Tips for Cold Weather Play
One-piece snowsuits are the perfect option for infants and toddlers. If possible, choose waterproof mittens or gloves that come with straps to keep them tethered to their wrists. This helps keep them from getting lost if a snug glove happens to fall off during play. Mittens are a preferred choice since the individual fingers allow your little one more ability to manipulate toys and snow while playing. Selecting boots without laces is ideal, as little ones need assistance lacing and unlacing to prepare for the outdoors, when retuning inside, and often during their time outdoors. Now multiple this number by an entire class and guess how much time is left for exploring outdoors! While boots look adorable and warm, a no-lace option is always best for any age group.
If your childcare center does not provide them, we always suggest keeping a few plastic bags in your child’s bag for wet clothing, along with an extra set of clothes and socks. You never know when an outdoor adventure will leave them soaked and cold, so best to plan ahead for wet articles.
Dressing Older Children for the Cold
As your child gets older, they can recognize and relay their level of discomfort in harsh winter conditions. While this is helpful, it is still vital to reiterate the importance of layering, protecting exposed areas, and voicing when they feel they need to go inside. Remind them they can always shed layers when they return to their classrooms, but it’s best to prepare for venturing out into colder than expected conditions when away from home. If they don’t require extra layers when you leave the house in the morning, send extra layers with your older children as a precaution to ensure they are equipped for the day’s forecast.
Know Your Learning Center’s Outdoor Play Guidelines
Outdoor play is an essential part of childhood learning, and guidelines for winter play will vary between programs and schools and differ throughout various regions. As the cold weather approaches, brush up on your center’s winter play guidelines. Know what temperatures your child will be spending outdoor time in and which weather conditions are still acceptable for their classrooms to play in. Ask about the length of time they will spend in various conditions and what precautions they may take to ensure every child is safe and warm. Many centers continue to keep outdoor play on their schedules at least twice a day as a healthy and educational part of their curriculum, so plan accordingly so your little ones stay warm and have plenty of dry clothing and accessories if necessary.
For further information on keeping your children bundled for winter weather, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics’ tip page. For further information on our winter weather guidelines at The Breakie Bunch Learning Academy, feel free to reach out to us for detailed information.