Don’t be taken by surprise when winter arrives. Kids that splashed in the mud in the spring, chased fireflies in the summer, and flung colorful leaves in the air in the fall need not sit indoors and mope all winter–if you are prepared.
Snowsuits, Snow Boots and Bread Bags
One wise parent once said that there is never bad weather, only improper clothing. Lightning storms, hurricanes, and blizzards aside, the statement is true. A warm snowsuit can make the difference between a toasty toddler and a frozen one. Buy a snowsuit rated to handle tough winters. Buy it a size or two too big so that extra sweaters can fit underneath if the weather is really inclement. Remember that the sleeves and legs can be rolled up.
Buying boots that are waterproof is the key to keeping toes toasty. Get the right size boot to ensure that they won’t easily slip off leaving your child standing in a snowdrift in socks. If possible, get boots that slip on or zip rather than lace up since the laced type tend to have more spaces for snow to enter. Bread bags are a good liner to keep feet dry. After children put on their socks, but before they put on their boots, slip a bread bag over each foot to keep out moisture.
Gloves, Mittens and More Gloves
Nothing makes tiny fingers ache like losing gloves or getting gloves and mittens wet by playing in the snow. Buy at least six inexpensive pair and wear multiples to insulate and insure that a damp pair can be pulled off before the skin becomes damp. Drug stores and mass marketers often sell children’s gloves for a dollar or two a pair, so stock up. A version of the bread bag trick can be used with mittens. Put one pair of gloves or mittens on, then cover the mitten with plastic wrap or a thin plastic bag, then top with another mitten. Fingers may not be as agile, but neither will they be as likely to sting.
Hats, Earmuffs and Headbands
Keeping the head warm is essential as blood flow to the head can’t be restricted by the body in the same way that it can be restricted to the limbs when your child is chilled. Wearing earmuffs and a hat will keep fragile ears warm. If your child doesn’t like earmuffs, a headband can be worn over the ears under the hat instead. The important thing is to keep the ears from stinging with cold.
Skip the scarf if your child will be sledding. It is better not to have anything hanging around the neck when speeding downhill.
That old standby, petroleum jelly, can be smeared on lips and cheeks to protect them from the cold. Pure petroleum jelly will have no dyes or perfumes to bother sensitive skin.
Re-purposed Household Items
Now that your child is bundled up, it’s time to play outside! Household items can be cleverly re-purposed to make winter fun. Do you have condiment squeeze bottles? Fill them with water tinted with food coloring for writing messages in the snow. Find out what happens to soap bubbles when they are blown in cold. Make sleds for dolls and teddies out of cardboard boxes and see who can slide the farthest. Keep an extra hat, some big buttons, and old coats around to dress the snowman. Of course, snow angels require no extra items at all to make magic.