Fort Worth, Texas,
11:09 AM

Too Cold Outside For Your Kids? Let Them Decide For Themselves.

Pediatrician says cold weather is no excuse for staying inside

The first time it happened, my youngest boy was 2 years old. I dropped him off at preschool in 40 degree weather and explained to the teacher that he refused to wear pants. So, I left him in shorts and with a jacket. He was fine. The next year I convinced my boys that they had to start wearing pants after Thanksgiving. That year they bought it.

Fast forward five years and I have learned that my kids can decide for themselves what to wear to keep warm. I let them step outside in the morning and advise them that they might want pants or a jacket, but I let them decide.

Tuesday, they both went to school in shorts, but took a fleece. It was 40 degrees outside. Wednesday was the same.

They might wear pants when the temperature hits 20 degrees… maybe.

Beyond infancy, kids can self-regulate what they wear for warmth. As parents, it’s our job to provide the right clothes and then let them decide.

I encourage my parents to get their kids outside even in cold weather. If it’s above freezing, a jacket is often all they are going to need if they are active. Below freezing, a hat and gloves can be added/offered, but don't be surprised if they come off once your child is active.

Finally, even your toddler can go out and play in the cold for 30 to 60 minutes. Don't be afraid of the cold. There are wonders to discover out there and kids need to be outside. It’s good for their bodies, minds and souls. 

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About the author

Vanessa Charette, M.D., has been a pediatrician at Cook Children's for 10 years and is located in Fort Worth. Dr. Charette embraces the many components that contribute to health nutrition, physical activity, emotional, psychological stresses and the environment. As your pediatrician she will spend time with you discussing nutrition, child development and take the time to address any concerns you have about your child's health.

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Judith Goldthorp
My 10 year old granddaughter clearly has a different thermostat than I do. Sometimes I will suggest that she take a jacket with her, just in case. Sometimes I say, jokingly, "Your grandmother is cold. Put on a jacket."