So, what is the answer to this problem? A couple friends and I have put our heads together and here’s what we’ve come up with:
- Let them experience the natural consequence of being cold. Now, obviously this is not going to work if it’s below freezing out! But if it’s simply cold or chilly and not freezing, and your child is in good health and won’t be outside too long, then really, what’s the harm? Put the coat in his backpack (he’ll probably need it for recess later if they go outside), and let him just wear his long sleeves for a little while. Yes, the other moms at the bus stop might give you the stink eye, but other than that, the worst that will happen is that your child will take his coat out and put it on. It’s more likely that he won’t, either because he’s really not cold or because he wants to prove to you that you are wrong. Either way, there is no fight over it and no tears are shed.
- Keep a blanket in the car. If you’re going from your heated house to the car, then from the heated car into another heated building, then a coat may be unnecessary. Actually, your child will be safer in the car without a coat if she is still in a five-point harness carseat, because it can interfere with how the straps fit. Buckle her in first, then tuck a blanket around her. If you’re doing more than just driving around town, you should bring the coat with you, just in case the car breaks down and you have to get out of it.
- Dress him in layers. Some kids don’t like the bulk of a coat, but will happily wear an undershirt, a turtleneck and a heavy sweatshirt. Add a warm pair of pants, socks, a hat and gloves, and he should stay pretty toasty for a little while. Again, this isn’t something that you should do when it’s 10 degrees outside or when you’re going to spend two hours sledding, but as long as it’s not freezing, he should be fine for a short time.
- Give up and just stay home. If your child is looking forward to going somewhere fun and outdoors, such as sledding or ice skating, but refuses to dress appropriately, then simply tell him that you can’t go until he gets his coat on (or agrees to put it on once you get there). Sometimes it takes that type of consequence for your child to make a good choice.
Thankfully, most of us will be experiencing the return of springlike weather soon, and we can forget all about uncomfortable coats and bulky boots until next winter! In the meantime, though, do you have any tried-and-true tips for getting kids to dress for the weather?