Can kids really decide for themselves when to wear a coat? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 03-16-2011, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just curious what you all think. Dd is 7 and I almost never say yes or no to this. She is very active and we walk a lot. She often takes off her coat in the middle of winter (Nova Scotia) when she is running around. I don't see the problem with this. I am a runner myself and I know I don't wear a winter coat when I'm out running, no matter what the temperature! She always has appropriate clothing available. I don't find she gets sick any more often (probably less) than other kids she hands out with. But other parents definitely seem to be uncomfortable with this. It makes it harder for them to enforce their own rules and I get the impression they think I'm extreme with this. I say, it's her body and how can I know if she's hot or cold? I want her to learn this for herself. She is never forced to go cold, even when she makes what turn out to be the wrong choices of clothing.

 

The only times I will intervene are if it's really going to make a lot of extra work for me; like if she has chosen not to wear rain pants and she then wants to get her clothes dirty in a mud puddle, I will probably say no.

 

There are SO many other things to battle about. I'm not talking about no hats and gloves walking to school in winter (unless, again, she's carrying them). But I'm surprised how many parents insist on coats no matter how much their children complain about being hot. Another parent who I really respect said that when they sweat, it chills them after they stop moving and the dampness can make them sick. Is this true?

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#2 of 25 Old 03-16-2011, 08:07 AM
 
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I've always allowed my children to decide what they are going to wear.  Sometimes, I'll tell them they might get cold later so they might want to bring a coat or an extra shirt.  I get comments all the time from other parents about my kids not wearing jackets. . .I just say, well, they aren't cold.  Colds/Sicknesses are caused by virus and bacteria, not by being cold or getting a chill.  


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#3 of 25 Old 03-16-2011, 11:10 AM
 
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'Couldn't have said it better myself! I never did get, "I'm cold; you put on a sweater." However, roll on, spring and summer so the question of a jacket becomes moot!

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#4 of 25 Old 03-16-2011, 03:29 PM
 
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My dd is only 2.5 but i often don't bother battling her on the coat issue anymore...
Because she's so young I sometimes feel guilty I guess (and I know many other moms will see us and think "omg that mother doesn't put a coat on her child yikes2.gif" )
But I also think (and have noticed!) that if she actually is cold, she will put on her coat without complaints. (I always ask/offer)
I am also a very "hotblooded" person, i am always too hot and almost never cold. So I guess she might take after me?

DD is definitely NOT sick a lot; in fact almost never... snotty noses, yes, but nothing major.

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#5 of 25 Old 03-16-2011, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, good. At least here I'm not the "odd one." Funny, though, it's this particular issue I seem to be out of step with the other moms and I really like them! No biggie, but it happened again today. My dd takes off her coat and the other kids we're walking with start doing the same thing. Then their moms good-naturedly say "oh, no, don't you DARE..." And they look at my dd and say, "but she doesn't have her coat on." It does feel awkward, especially when I'm walking her friend home and I know his mom insists he keeps his coat on. 

 

Oh well. Unfortunately, in Nova Scotia coats won't be a "moot point" for a while; though I guess you're right, it will become less of an issue. Today I felt the warmth of the sun here, I must say. I didn't want my coat on, either.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by carfreemama View Post
. Another parent who I really respect said that when they sweat, it chills them after they stop moving and the dampness can make them sick. Is this true?


No, it isn't. As a PP said, it is exposure to bacteria/viruses/fungi which makes us ill. There has been some suggestion that being cold can decrease the immune system's ability to fight infection but I have yet to see that proven. 

 

 

 


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#7 of 25 Old 03-16-2011, 09:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carfreemama View Post
There are SO many other things to battle about. I'm not talking about no hats and gloves walking to school in winter (unless, again, she's carrying them). But I'm surprised how many parents insist on coats no matter how much their children complain about being hot. Another parent who I really respect said that when they sweat, it chills them after they stop moving and the dampness can make them sick. Is this true?


As someone else said, it's not true. AND furthermore, being in a coat and getting hot will most likely make your child more sweaty (and hence prone to chills). The sensible thing to do if you buy that (false) theory is to take your coat off when you're running around getting hot and then put it back on when you stop!

 


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#8 of 25 Old 03-16-2011, 10:50 PM
 
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If it is cold out I make my DD bring a coat, but I do not make her wear it. I figure that she will put a coat on when she is cold and take it off when she is hot. She knows better than I do how she feels temperature-wise.
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#9 of 25 Old 03-17-2011, 06:36 PM
 
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This is such an issue for me! I cannot stand it when people try and make these decisions for children older then about 2- If you can't trust a 7 yo with this kind of a decision how are they ever going to handle the bigger stuff? 

 

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#10 of 25 Old 03-18-2011, 06:21 AM
 
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I don't force coats either. If they are cold, they will put it on. Kids need to have some control over their lives. They don't deal with having every detail of their lives micromanaged.

They are living creatures that know when they are cold, hot, hungry. The only thing (my kids) don't quite get, is when they are tired. They would just pass out from exhuastion if I didnt enforce a bedtime.

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#11 of 25 Old 03-18-2011, 09:16 AM
 
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I never force my kids to wear layers they don't feel they need. I'll suggest that they tuck a hoodie in their backpacks if it's going to be chilly but my son only wore his winter coat two or three times this year. DS has worn shorts to school several times in the past few weeks and DD is wearing some today.

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#12 of 25 Old 03-19-2011, 03:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies about this. I am going to keep doing what I'm doing and let dd decide this for herself. I agree with a pp that kids don't need their lives micromanaged. I hated that feeling when I was a kid. Adults could determine EVERYTHING I did or said and I wanted to be my own person. I remember that feeling of being hot and uncomfortable, but being forced to wear my snowpants "because it's still winter." Apparently, I need to send a note to the school telling them it's okay for dd to take off her coat if she wants to.

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#13 of 25 Old 03-19-2011, 09:14 AM
 
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Add me to the lit of parents who don't enforce the coat rule. We live in a place that has cold winters, so my son always has access to a coat, but he doesn't have to wear it. He is perfectly capable of knowing if he needs it or not, so it's his choice. Totally not a hill to die on in my book. Plus I wear a sweatshirt all winter long, I'm not comfortable in coats... so I'd be such a hypocrite to push for him wearing a coat! lol.gif

 

And I just cringe when I hear other parents telling their kids they'll get sick if they don't wear a coat, hat, whatever... Spreading misinformation to kids is a lil pet peeve of mine.


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#14 of 25 Old 03-20-2011, 06:59 AM
 
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I also don't require DS to wear a coat. We're lucky to live in a very temperate climate but it's quite rainy over the winter. He's pretty amenable to wearing a sweatshirt, so it's either that or his rain coat on a typical day. If he absolutely refuses, I'll bring something along to put on later if he gets cold/wet. It's simply not a battle I want to fight, and it's his business if he's cold. Speaking of cold, I'm cold and need to throw on a sweatshirt.

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#15 of 25 Old 03-20-2011, 07:59 AM
 
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This is one of my biggest pet peeve-the judgment about allowing kids to make their own decisions about clothing. My son rarely wears a coat and we live in New England. He runs hot and I trust him to decide when he needs a coat. I have never fought this fight, even when he was small.  He's 9 now and is good about throwing a hoodie or coat in his backpack or into the car in case he needs it.  When he was small I brought one a long for the same reason and let his temperature control decide when he needed it.

 

I have had posters on this board and others actually say they would call CPS if they saw kids playing outside in the cold w/o "proper" attire. rolleyes.gif I figure these people have *way* too much time on their hands if they are worrying about what other kids are wearing w/o knowing the circumstance of the child/family.


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#16 of 25 Old 03-20-2011, 11:07 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by tinuviel_k View Post

If it is cold out I make my DD bring a coat, but I do not make her wear it. I figure that she will put a coat on when she is cold and take it off when she is hot. She knows better than I do how she feels temperature-wise.


Exactly - "wear it or carry it".  I have three kids.  One rarely even brings a coat places (but she is a teenager).  The ten year old wears her coat most all the time.  The seven year old carries it, and wears it half the time.
 

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#17 of 25 Old 03-21-2011, 12:06 AM
 
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With regards to the other parents thing, I would just say, "ALl families have rules.  Some are the same and some are different" and leave it at that.  I talk to my daughter about that and I have said it outloud a couple of times when there have been different parenting styles around.  We do talk about following other peoples house rules but that wouldn't apply to coats outside!


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#18 of 25 Old 03-24-2011, 03:25 PM
 
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In our house, coats and proper footwear are non-negotiable items. I feel like kids for some reason don't get cold like adults do because I always see so many kids on the playground and such without coats when I am freezing and in a coat, hat and gloves. But then I just have to assume those kids get sick later because it really is COLD! So I let them pick things like whether to wear an undershirt or a sweater or thin socks or thick socks, but when it comes to what coat and what shoes to wear, I'm the one that decides.

One thing that's worked for us is that I only keep weather-appropriate coats and shoes in the closet. That way my son doesn't see (and isn't tempted by) his spring rain jacket when it's 5 degrees (and not raining!) outside. And in the week after a snow storm (I live in Chicago!) I put his sneakers away so the only shoes that are out are his snow boots. That has saved us a lot of arguments because when he doesn't see other choices, he typically is okay with my suggestion. Good luck!
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In our house, coats and proper footwear are non-negotiable items. I feel like kids for some reason don't get cold like adults do because I always see so many kids on the playground and such without coats when I am freezing and in a coat, hat and gloves. But then I just have to assume those kids get sick later because it really is COLD! So I let them pick things like whether to wear an undershirt or a sweater or thin socks or thick socks, but when it comes to what coat and what shoes to wear, I'm the one that decides.

One thing that's worked for us is that I only keep weather-appropriate coats and shoes in the closet. That way my son doesn't see (and isn't tempted by) his spring rain jacket when it's 5 degrees (and not raining!) outside. And in the week after a snow storm (I live in Chicago!) I put his sneakers away so the only shoes that are out are his snow boots. That has saved us a lot of arguments because when he doesn't see other choices, he typically is okay with my suggestion. Good luck!


It's totally your prerogative to enforce coats, and I won't argue with that. But if it was my kid you saw on the playground, nope, you can't assume that she got sick later :)

 

When I'm a parent sitting on a bench at a playground, I sure feel a lot different from when I'm a parent running around after my kid and climbing the equipment after her. Add to that the fact that her metabolism is also much faster than mine, and she ALWAYS runs hotter than me, whether she's being active or just sitting there - so my personal feelings of being cold are not very related to her body temperature.

 

Since I don't make it a control issue or a fight, I'll always have a coat (and hat/mittens if it's really that cold) available. I'll offer them if I think she's cold. If she is, she gladly takes them, no fuss.

 

I do realize that maybe there might be certain kinds of kids who simply will NOT notice even if they are getting frostbite. I think they are probably the minority though. If I didn't feel secure about DD being aware of her body temperature, I'd take a more active role in enforcing coats. But since she does take a coat when she wants, I feel fine that she can decide that for herself. And for sure, she does get hot and sweaty when she wears the same number of layers as I do.

 

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#20 of 25 Old 03-27-2011, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is the thing, though; dd gets sick less than most of the other kids. It really seems this is one of those issues that just won't go away. We are a very active family and I think this might have something to do with it, I don't know. But since we don't have a car and we have a dog, we're outside a lot. We have lots of different clothing options available and I think dd has gotten really good at knowing what she needs. Problem is, if dd has been outside without a coat and then does happen to get a cold, I can almost hear the "I told you so's" coming my way. I guess it would be different if dd was prone to getting sick a lot, though. I don't want to cause problems for anyone else. I know I've been frustrated when other parents have let their kids do things I won't let my own dd daughter do. Letting kids walk through a parade on a busy road with bare feet is an example that comes to mind. I could see broken glass around and of course dd wanted to go barefoot when her friend was allowed. But I did use the "different families, different rules" line with my dd then and I stuck to my guns. I didn't blame the other parent, though.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MomtoDandJ View Post

In our house, coats and proper footwear are non-negotiable items. I feel like kids for some reason don't get cold like adults do because I always see so many kids on the playground and such without coats when I am freezing and in a coat, hat and gloves. But then I just have to assume those kids get sick later because it really is COLD! So I let them pick things like whether to wear an undershirt or a sweater or thin socks or thick socks, but when it comes to what coat and what shoes to wear, I'm the one that decides.

One thing that's worked for us is that I only keep weather-appropriate coats and shoes in the closet. That way my son doesn't see (and isn't tempted by) his spring rain jacket when it's 5 degrees (and not raining!) outside. And in the week after a snow storm (I live in Chicago!) I put his sneakers away so the only shoes that are out are his snow boots. That has saved us a lot of arguments because when he doesn't see other choices, he typically is okay with my suggestion. Good luck!


 

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#21 of 25 Old 03-27-2011, 12:58 PM
 
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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. 


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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinuviel_k View Post

If it is cold out I make my DD bring a coat, but I do not make her wear it. I figure that she will put a coat on when she is cold and take it off when she is hot. She knows better than I do how she feels temperature-wise.


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.


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#23 of 25 Old 03-29-2011, 01:13 PM
 
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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)

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#24 of 25 Old 03-29-2011, 01:24 PM
 
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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?


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#25 of 25 Old 03-30-2011, 04:02 PM
 
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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.


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