With this year’s winter set to be one coldest in the last 10 years, and with arctic conditions being forecast, according to predictions from the weather forecasters, there is a picture of cold bleakness being painted.
Having said that, a snow-covered landscape is part of every child’s dream; to get out there and take part in all the different outdoor activities the weather has to offer - from snowman-making to pelting each other with snowballs (goodness knows where the fun is in that!.....brrrrr), to making snow angels, sledding, skating and many more.
Many parents will look on with a mixed sense of joy that your child is having fun, but also concern for the possible repercussions of the cold.
So how do you strike that balance between letting your child have fun in the cold without making you suffer for it later?
The answer would be to get the choice of clothing right. Clothes for cold conditions should generally be split into layers: Base, middle and outer layers, each serving their purpose.
Base Layer: This is the thermal layer that really contributes towards keeping your child warm. It is the base upon which the other layers are built – just like a house foundation. If you get the base layer right, you will find that your child may not need to wear so many other layers, so might be a good idea to invest well in this part of your child’s winter wardrobe. There are a number of options to choose from in the shops but be mindful that options like t-shirts won’t really make the cut because thermals should generally be figure-forming, to reduce thermal leakage. T-shirts are also made of cotton, which loses any insulation as it gets wet, and can also make your child colder.
Middle layer: This is whatever comes between the base and outer layer – so your normal clothes. Again be mindful of the cotton-based materials as they can cool the body down when wet e.g. if your child has to trudge through snow which will thaw and become water on his /her jeans. This (in the case of jeans) will take a while to dry out and cause your child to become cold in the process, which could lead to hypothermia. So the material must suit the purpose.
Outer layer: In such weather, the outer layer would be a coat of sorts, usually depending on the weather and its severity.
So problem sorted; your child is nice and warm and ready to hit the snow. The advantage of layering your child’s clothes is they can be taken off and put back on as and how your child feels. If your child is getting hot during the activity, take some off. If the temperature drops, put those layers back on. This is important because you don’t want them to get too hot either, which could lead to sweating, and subsequently making them colder – not to mention being uncomfortable.
Don’t forget to stock up on the snacks (and warm drinks), to keep the calories at an optimum level, as this is what the body burns, to keep them (and all of us) warm. Once the levels dip, the cold might begin to set in – a bit like a steam train with the fires that need to be stoked every so often.
What’s good for the goose is also good for the gander, so try these tips on yourself so you can get out there with your kids and enjoy the crisp, cold and fresh air.
In spite of the forecast, have some good quality family time together this winter!
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