Wrapped up in a winter wonderland

Keep your kids toasty warm with these cold-weather wardrobe tips.

My kids are never cold. Or at least that’s what they tell me when I ask them to come inside and warm up from winter play. Kids will rarely admit to being cold, for fear it will put a quick end to their fun. 

When the snow hits the ground, Ottawa becomes a wintry playground for kids, and I want to make sure that my kids stay warm and comfortable so that they can enjoy all the fabulous winter activities our city has to offer. 

Dressing in layers is the key to keeping little ones warm and dry. This requires creating a base layer, a middle layer and an outer layer or clothing.

Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep dampness away from the skin. Polyester or microfibre blend long johns are great. Avoid cotton because it is too absorbent and tends to cling. 

Next, add an insulating middle layer. Polar fleece is great, as it is soft, stretchy, lightweight and feels great next to the skin. 

A protective outer layer or shell maintains body warmth and keeps wind and snow out. Look for jackets and snow pants that are made of a tightly woven, water resistant fabric. Longer jackets with elastic cuffs are best. Snow pants with elastic cuffs and bib style pants keep snow out. Look for these terms on the label: wind resistant, water repellent, and breathable.

Don’t forget those little heads, hands and feet. They tend to be the first to feel cold winds or a drop in temperature.

Hats come in a wide range of fabrics and styles. Hats with flaps are great because they cover ears and keep the kids warm. I love the fleece interior; it creates a non-itchy hat. Be sure not to put the fleece hats in the dryer, they will shrink.

Mittens are better than gloves for kids because they allow more warm air to circulate around the hands. Look for elasticized wrists and long cuffs to keep the snow out. And while I do love the old fashioned knitted mittens, waterproof fabrics are better for keeping kids warm and dry.

Keeping little toes toasty starts with a good pair of warm moisture-wicking socks. Socks made from a polyester wool blend work best. For boots, choose good quality waterproof ones with Velcro closures to make it easy for kids to manage them by themselves. I love the new neoprene style pull-on boots.

Travelling with an extra pair of mitts and socks are a sure way to extend the day. And remember the sunscreen; children can burn easily in winter sun.

Finally, embrace the outdoors: Pack a healthy snack and a Thermos of warmth. Make it a cold weather adventure for little people, from a fun skate on the Rideau Canal  during Winterlude to building a backyard snow fort.

Keeping your kids warm, dry and protected from the elements makes winter fun for everyone. Remember to apply the same rules to yourself — you don’t want to be the one that has to go inside and miss all the fun!

Julie Findlay is Mom in the Know, a spokesperson for all things related to raising a family and living a healthy, happy and balanced life. A wife and mother of two, Julie has turned her teaching career into a lifelong passion of sharing with others.