As your children learn to dress independently, help them consider the weather when making clothing choices for the day.
Dress for Success
My daughters love dolls. They have a number of them, and they love to role-play as Mom during their many doll parties. So when teaching them to dress appropriately for the weather, I let them practice dressing their dolls.
I make up scenarios. I tell them that Kendell (one of their dolls) has been invited to a party, but it's going to be a cold winter day or a hot and sunny day. My children need to dress Kendell and bring her to me for inspection.
If Kendell is dressed appropriately, I tell my girls that she will be able to go to the party. Otherwise, she'll need to stay home. Dressing Kendell appropriately teaches my children how to dress appropriately, also.
One morning, my 7-year-old daughter wanted to wear sandals and a sundress, but it was 39 degrees outside. My first instinct was to say no, but instead I told her to step outside for a few moments before deciding. My children usually choose wisely when they have the freedom — and the right information — to make their own decisions. That day she chose to wear a fleece with her outfit. She was comfortable in the morning during the short walk to school. By the afternoon, the day warmed to 70 degrees, so she simply removed her fleece.
Warm Fingers and Toes
Morning tempers often flared when we dressed our first toddler in her winter coat, hat, gloves and boots. She would immediately take things off, especially her gloves. With my second child, I tried a different approach. First, I made sure to find comfortable outerwear that would not chafe sensitive baby skin. Then, when it came time for us to get dressed, we played a little version of follow-the-leader: I would put on a piece of clothing, and my toddler would do the same. As I helped my toddler put on each item, I would singsong our actions, using a tune like "Mary Had a Little Lamb." For example, I would sing, "Let's put our arms in the sleeves, in the sleeves, in the sleeves ..." And my toddler stayed dressed.
Kids, Coats and Cold Weather
I don't want my preschoolers to forget an essential piece of clothing on cold-weather days, so I've developed a fun game to help them remember each item they need to stay safe and warm.
Using the song "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes," my kids and I follow a checklist for gathering and putting on our winter gear. We sing together while identifying the items we need to keep warm: head (hat); shoulders (coat); knees (snow pants); toes (boots); eyes — looking at hands (gloves); ears (earmuffs); mouth and nose (scarf).
By the time we sing the song a few times, we're bundled up and ready to head outside.