Getting kids to wear coats is almost as difficult as getting an elephant
stand on one leg. I don't quite understand the trouble, but I've never
met a kid who likes to wear a coat. When I worked at the elementary
school, it was not unusual to go out at recess and see all of the coats
in a pile on the playground. When they went back into class, many of the
kids left them there - I think on purpose.
Ask any adult though, especially the ladies, and they have multiple coats for multiple situations. So why don't kids like coats, and how can we get them to wear them? Some of the trouble lies in the fact that kids don't like to be constricted. Coats are confining; they make it more difficult to run and jump, and kids need their space.
Kids are also hot-blooded. As a rule, children's body temperatures tend to be much warmer than adults, and the fact that they are typically very active when outside means that they need a coat much less than an adult does. This does not mean however that the child can go without a coat. They still need a coat – but often, a child can get away with a lightweight jacket when an adult may be bundled up in a parka.
The last piece of the puzzle would be the most important one for my children – coats are often thought of as unfashionable. Especially if it's a hand-me-down, some kids just don't like the looks of many coats.
So what's a savvy parent to do?
- Ask your child his or her opinion. Many times, the battle overcoats can be resolved by asking a child which coat he would rather wear, A or b. It needs to be presented as nonnegotiable, but flexible.
- Let your child pick out the coat. If you are concerned about being able to pass it down, try to steer your child towards a more basic coat. But your child needs to like it, or he will never wear it. Finally, accessories are a savvy mom's best friend. Zipper pulls, fancy buttons, and a cute scarf can all take the most basic coat into the next direction.
- Make sure you remember to toss that coat in the washing machine every once in a while. It always amazes me how incredibly filthy my own children's coats can get, and a simple trip through the washer and dryer at night can make that coat look brand-new for the next day.
- Cute versus practical – there's always one adorable coat, that your child must have, and yet you can tell just by looking at it that the wind will whistle through. My own mother always had a rule that our coats must cover our bottoms. I hated that role as a child, and the first year I was out of Mione, I bought a cute short jacket – and I froze the whole winter. Figure out where you draw the line with acute versus practical, and realize that even if you can't find something at one store, it may be at another.
- Don't underestimate the beauty of the polar fleece - it's soft, warm, comes in many colors, and did I mention that it's warm? This wonder fabric is thin enough to allow for ample freedom, and can be warm enough to keep your child comfortable well into the early months of winter.
Do you have trouble getting your children to wear a coat in the fall and winter? What are your tried and true solutions?