When my DSS was 3, I had him on the back of my bike and he was wearing a t-shirt on a warm spring day (I was wearing sleeveless) and this woman stopped me and yelled at me because he wans't wearing a coat. She said "he could freeze to death!". I was so shocked, I was paranoid for the longest time about how my kids dressed. Now, if they say they're hot, they don't have to wear their coat. Unless it's summer or really hot, they generally have to take their coat with them but they don't have to wear it. In the winter, they're usually wearing layers so if they get hot they can take off their coat. They'll put it on when they get cold.
Can kids really decide for themselves when to wear a coat? - Page 2
This is what we do. It also really helps when other people start commenting on (usually it's ds) not wearing a coat. I just point out to them that he has one with him(obviously) in case he gets too cold, but for right now decided he didn't need to wear it.
To the pp who said she thinks the kids without coats are getting sick? GERMS make people sick - not the cold - yes it COULD lower your resistance if one is truly cold for long periods - but I would say it's less of an issue than lack of sleep and excessive sugar intake - which the vast majority of people subject their kids to on an ongoing basis! And as others have pointed out - running around and being active makes you warm! I would x country ski in -10 below weather with just a breathable layer and a shell - I'd start off FREEZING but within just a couple of minutes my body temp jumped to the point that even my fingers were not cold (they'd actually sweat with just thin gloves)- only my ears needed fleece -
and seriously, it has to be mighty cold before frostbite becomes an issue -
If we can't trust them with these little decisions how will they ever gain any practice for the big ones?
(but of course have them bring them - teach them the value of being prepared and thinking things through - not something most kids are good at)
We take an extra coat if it's cold, or the weather looks as though it will get cold, but I generally don't insist on my kids dressing "for the weather". I make an exception for ds2, sometimes, as he has some kind of sensory issue and will stand there with red cheeks, sweat pouring down his face and on the verge of collapse, telling me he's "not hot, mama"...while dressed in a sweatsuit in 30C weather. However, even with him, I look for physical signs and then help him interpret them, because I don't see any value in saying "you're hot" or "you're cold". Sensory issues aside....maybe he isn't?
If it's dangerously cold I would enforce wearing a coat, but since it's rarely that cold I don't. I also let my kids run around barefoot.
There is a boy at school who does run hot and rarely wears a coat, but it's also become sort of a point of pride with him, so I've seen him standing there in shorts and a tank top when the other kids have their down coats on and he's saying he's not cold, but I can see goose bumps on him. A lot of times he's really not cold and I get that. A lot of times my kids are cold when others aren't, but sometimes I think he's pushing it just because that's his personality.