Some children are perfectly willing to wear whatever a parent suggests, while others develop a unique sense of style at a very young age. If your child falls into the latter category, what do you do if he or she decides a fall jacket doesn’t fit into his or her fashion plan? Answers from experts about children and cold weather might surprise you.
A Parents.com article describes the situation this way: “Ah, the winter-coat struggle. Your child isn't cold inside, so why the heck would he want to put on that bulky, sweaty jacket and cover his perfectly warm-enough outfit? But he will feel different when he gets outside.”
This is often the case. But, if it isn’t, the article suggests that, until it is genuinely frigid outside, you shouldn’t stress. Simply take the coat with you when you and your child go outside. If it’s truly cold weather, he or she will ask to put it on. Then, the next time your child balks at wearing that jacket, you can remind him or her about what happened before. “Chances are,” the writer concludes, “your child will welcome the coat and gloves long before his fingers go numb.”
An article by CNN recommends the same strategy, suggesting you “listen for the chattering teeth in the backseat or while you’re walking.”
An article in the Huffington Post, written by a licensed practicing family therapist, delves into the issue more deeply. The child being discussed in this article is a 10-year-old girl who doesn’t want to wear her coat—or warm socks—when temperatures are in the 20s. She says she isn’t cold.
The therapist suggests the mother first look at the overall connection she has with her daughter. Is the child generally cooperative or does she resist virtually every request? If the latter is true, then the issue is much bigger than a coat and warm socks. But, if a child is cooperative overall, but doesn’t want to bundle up, then it’s possible she doesn’t register cold in the same way the parent does. Some children, the article shares, are “extremely tolerant” of cold weather.
So, does your child seem resistant to most of the crud that circulates at school or does she get sick often? If she breezes by when others are catching colds, then it may be that she doesn’t need to bundle up as much as the average child. But if she does get ill easily, then a warm coat and socks are no longer negotiable.
Here’s another strategy. Have your child step outside without a jacket before having a discussion. Because it feels warm inside, your child may predetermine that outerwear isn’t needed. But, if he or she feels the chill, then appropriate outerwear will probably make sense.
Here’s one more strategy to consider. Pick a temperature limit, factoring wind chill and the like. If the temperature is above your limit, let your child have more freedom in determining outerwear. If it drops below, the issue becomes non-negotiable. This system may help your child feel more in control while making sure he or she is bundled up when temperatures plunge.
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