How to dress kids up for winter outdoor activities

Winter is a great opportunity for all of us to go out with our children. With the right clothes there is no reason for you and your little ones to be "locked" in the house, even on the coldest days of the year. 

After all, children who are constantly indoors are at greater risk of getting sick than those who are exposed to low temperatures. A recent study called “There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather, Just the Wrong Clothing” found that bad weather should not limit our childrens’ outdoor time as long as the parents make the outing fun and provide the appropriate clothing. 

Of course, depending on how cold the weather is, we must also take into account the time of day and the available sunlight. 

To get the outfit right we commonly refer to dressing up using layers, like an onion, ensuring warmth and insulation from the rain or snow. 

Layering with the appropriate materials has proven to be a better way to stay warm rather than a very thick and uncomfortable jacket in which children cannot feel agile. 

On snowy days it is recommended to apply the rule of three pieces
  • Thermal underwear with long sleeves & leggings 
  • Fleece jacket/sweater
  • Snow suit

This is the basic starting point for a fun time in the snow.  If the temperature rises or kids are too hot from activity, it is easy to lighten the child's clothing by removing a layer.   If the temperature ranges below 0 ° C, then there are more layers to add.  Consider

  • A fleece vest on top of the fleece jacket
  • Isothermal underwear made of Merino wool
  • Water-wind-proof gloves, and
  • A 2nd layer of Merino wool gloves to line the water proof ones are highly recommended if temperatures fall below zero. 
  • Warm socks and a hat that covers his ears, or a headscarf is required.  
Oh and don't forget to carry hand warmers to fill the little gloves when things get tough.  I personally recommend to begin the morning with the hand warmers already inside gloves or pockets on the days that the temperature is below 2-3 C.  Most single use hand warmers last 8-12 hours.  

When children are standing in the cold without much activity, it is important that they are buttoned up and protected by the elements.  As they enter closed spaces like a restaurant or a car children should remove their jackets so they can adjust quickly to the warm temperature. 

Ski shoes that are rubbery at the bottom, made of waterproof material, and lined with wool or fleece are recommended for the snow. 

Goretex products work best as they offers lightness, warmth and insulation.  
On rainy days three piece rule applies again with different materials:  Isothermic underwear - Fleece jacket/sweater - Rain suit

Impermeable rain boots protect the little feet from the rain but not from the cold, so make sure to put on thick and warm socks inside.  

How to get the right indoor temperature when there are babies in the house?

The law of proportion and balance must also apply to indoor clothing too. Keep the temperature in the house around 22 ° C and, in general, dress your child according to how you feel in those specific temperatures. 

The exceptions are the first months of life, when the baby usually needs an extra layer of clothing than adults. In general, prefer your child's underwear as well as all clothing that comes in contact with his skin to be cotton.

Avoid synthetic materials as well as very tight clothing, which can impede its mobility and become a barrier to children's physical activity.  Vitamin D at this age is very important and although most newborns are provided with vitamin D through supplements, exposure to sunlight as much as possible throughout the day is required. 

Going outside for fresh air and sunlight every day is highly recommended for newborns.  If this is not always possible, then set-up the baby’s sitting, eating or play area next to a window with sunlight a few hours in the day, for a little sunbathing!

Studies show that exposure to the cold and outdoor playing, even in low temperatures, strengthens their immune system and help against health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, asthma, vitamin D deficiency, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

The stroller ride gives the baby various stimuli, necessary for his psychosomatic development. Playing outdoors stimulates the senses of older children and enables them to relieve stress in the most natural way. Consequently, outdoor playing is as vital to our children’s development as eating or sleeping! 

In conclusion, with the right clothes you can go out for a walk or play with your little ones, even on the coldest days of the year. Stay at home in winter time only for reading a book, making crafts, watching movies and lots of cuddles!

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