Yankee parents: Tell us how to keep our kids warm!

Those Yankee kids go to school three-fourths of the year in freezing cold weather, and we need to know their parents’ secrets to keeping their kids warm in this crazy cold weather!

With bus stop temperatures expected to be in the teens and twenties this whole week, I’m worried about my kids freezing while waiting on a ride, being cold in their trailers (essentially an icebox) and not getting any outdoor playtime to run-off their energy.

I’ve doubled up their shirts and pants, mittened their little hands, shoved them into the warmest jackets they have and resisted the temptation to smear A&D ointment all over their faces to prevent windburn.

And even with all that, I’m probably going to drive them to school for the next few days so they don’t get chilled before they even get there. (Rose broke out in hives from the cold twice in the last few weeks so I just want to be careful.)

Our favorite fill-in host Keith is excited this morning to see if the middle school boys in her neighborhood actually wear long pants to school this week. She said she has yet to see them in anything but basketball shorts this whole year.

This is a common complaint from adults – that their kids and teens don’t dress warmly enough in cold weather. Another dad was complaining on Facebook about a teen in Target dressed in shorts in 20-degree weather on Sunday.

One of our born-and-bred Georgia friends who has transplanted to New York City was learning from some other Yankee moms on Facebook about fleece-lined tights. I’ve never heard of such but maybe we need some down here.

I know there are other Yankee secrets to keeping your kids warm in the winter, and we want you to share.

Are you worried about your kids staying warm enough at the bus stop over the next few days? Are you worried about trailers or classrooms being warm enough?

Should the schools let them play outside even for a short time or is it just too cold? What about when they get home, will you let them play outside in the afternoon in 30 or 40 degree weather?

Give us your tips Yankee transplants. Tell us how to handle this cold weather!

126 comments Add your comment

motherjanegoose

January 5th, 2010
7:18 am

I was just talking about this before Christmas with a teacher. We, in ATL, rarely have long cold spells and thus are not likely to worry about warm coats, hats or gloves. We dash in and out and then it is 50 degrees again!

I grew up in Chicago and wore pants, to wait for the bus, under my dress ( to a private school). We put on mittens on the radiator to dry during class. There was a coat closet in each room.

I was in Fairbanks, Alaska in October and it was 11 degrees…the teacher who picked me up had on a dress with NO hose. I was shocked and we joked about it,. I was in Bemdiji MN last March and the actual temperature was 27 BELOW zero.

I will tolerate this weather as we know it was not drag on all winter. I do laugh at schools where teachers here do not take the kids to the playground if it is below 40 degrees…what would they do if they lived somewhere where they have REAL winters? I am happy to live in Atlanta!

I think most will recommend layers. My daughter left on her own today…so I am not sure what she wore but she has been to Alaska with me and knows what cold feels like. Wayne. we also”enjoyed” Boston when it was snowing in April….big WET flakes!

Thanks DB for your comment on yesterday’s blog…I look forward to seeing you soon!
I got chuckle too out of your son’s new interest…I am right with you.

fred

January 5th, 2010
7:18 am

I grew up in upstate NY and I remember playing outside throuhgout the entire year, cold or not. But we did have gore-tex (I think) gloves and hats. I also had thermal long underwear, tops and bottoms. They best advice I can give is multiple layers, the clothes do not need to be thick as long as you layer them, that way when inside you can take a layer or 2 off which you cant do with a big wool sweater. I have also heard that the inside layer should be moisture wicking. This is not something that I had growing up but is now very prevalent.

Momof2Girls

January 5th, 2010
7:42 am

If you are able, I have found it’s easier to change the logistics of what you do when it’s cold than to buy what’s used up north, given that we don’t get this cold for long and it often isn’t worth the expense. Drive and pick up or wait at the bus stop, etc.

However, if you want to lay out the funds, the best thing to do is buy silk long underwear and glove liners, then layer as fred suggested. Earmuffs are a must, as are hats (no matter how much your kid complains they’re dorky, or whatever). Keep as little skin exposed as possible (balaclava, gator, scarf, whatever your coverup of choice is). REI or any ski store will have this stuff, but it won’t come cheap!

Some general suggestions. Warm up your car until the temp needle moves before driving anywhere to avoid damaging your engine or causing a fire; if your car battery is getting old, replace it – it will not be able to handle the extra strain; if you are heading onto ice and can’t avoid it, DO NOT gas or brake while on it. Steer straight before you hit it (if possible) and just glide over it. You will slide a little, but you won’t do an ice capades imitation (of course if it’s a really big patch, all bets are off).

mom2alex&max

January 5th, 2010
7:48 am

Can someone with teens/tweens PLEASE explain to me why they refuse to wear long pants?

Last winter, I saw one dork with basketball pants, a sweatshirt and mittens on the bus stop. HOW is this considered “cool”?

cld

January 5th, 2010
7:59 am

I’m laughing at MJG’s recollection of gloves on the radiator and coat closets in the classrooms. I lived in Pennsylvania until I was 13, and that’s what I remember, too. From November through March, the coat closets were overflowing with heavy coats, snow boots, scarves and hats – and the heating vents were lined with gloves if there was snow on the ground.

I think that in this area, the only realistic option is layers. Yes, you could go out and buy REAL winter coats (not the wool pea coat I now consider a “winter” coat), fleece-lined leggings/pants/jackets (to wear under your winter coat), but you’ll get little use out of them. Personally, I’m not going to spend $100+ on a coat I’m going to wear maybe two weeks out of the year.

We wore ear muffs. I was forced to wear a knit hat until I was about 10 (and then I was allowed to wear just the ear muffs if I complained enough).

My husband was one of those teenage boys (here, not in PA) who wore shorts almost all year.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 5th, 2010
8:04 am

Cld — i was shocked by the PA winter when we moved there after we first got married. We had more than 100 inches of snow in one year — we lived in State College and it snowed from October through April!!! They never even got the leaves off the ground and it had already started snowing.
NYC was much more temperate because of the water. SC was just freakin cold and snowy all the time!!!

motherjanegoose

January 5th, 2010
8:14 am

sorry for my obvious typos in the previous post, I had not had my coffee yet….

@ cld…you must have been in a better league if you wore gloves…we never had gloves as kids always mittens and some kids had those little clips on their coat sleeves so they would not be as likely to loose mittens that were attached.

Here’s another thing…more folks knit and crochet in the colder climates as they can actual wear what the create. Our mittens were almost always purchased at some church “bazaar” and knit by a little old lady. I love the word bazaar…we do not use it much here…also rummage sale…that one is used in place of garage sale…are you with me cld?

I will enjoy the scarves my 17 year daughter knit for me…I have already received oodles of compliments on them since bringing them out for my trip to Alaska in October. I am proud to tell folks they were made for me by my daughter….I guess with love….LOL.

Outta here for now!

Patrick

January 5th, 2010
8:15 am

I had a friend who wore shorts year-round. I remember him wearing shorts while walking out on a frozen pond we had in the backyard.

In relation to the car being warmed up, before you crank it up, make sure to bang on the hood a few times. In cold weather like this, there’s a good chance some small critter, like a rabbit, squirrel, or cat, will crawl up into the engine, where it’s nice and warm. My friend’s mom had an incident one time where some stray cat had crawled up into the engine of her truck, and when we got to the church where my friend played softball, we heard a strange noise coming from the engine. Lifted the hood to find a cat in there. It wasn’t badly injured; it had a little blood in its eye, but it was able to jump out and take off into the nearby woods.

I remember when winters down here were almost like the winters up north, where it was COLD not just a few days out of the season, but for almost an entire month or two.

I’ve known kids whose parents would drive them to the bus stop, then let them stay in the car until the bus came. Sometimes we’d get in the car with them, if there was room. I remember while living in an apartment complex in Stone Mountain, the bus stop was at the front of the complex. There was an apartment building that the bus stop was in front of. The buildings’ hallways were completely closed off, so we’d all go into the building, where it was nice and warm, and dry (when it rained), and when the bus came, we’d all come out of the building. The bus driver didn’t like it, because it added time to the route.

cld

January 5th, 2010
8:25 am

I grew up alongside Amish country, and we had a lot of handmade goods from that community. I had one aunt who knit scarves and hats – others usually were bought from the Amish markets. I remember having the mitten vs. gloves debate with my parents when I was probably about seven or eight years old. They wanted me to continue wearing mittens because they were warmer – I wanted gloves so I’d be more grown-up. I don’t think my mom had the energy to fight me on it; I had two younger sisters who got my handed-down clothes. So gloves it was!

Becky

January 5th, 2010
8:30 am

I use the layer system also..I did buy thermal underwear for the little ones and they love them..The girl wants to wear hers all the time..

As for the teens, I don’t remember feeling the cold as much when I was younge, so maybe this is why they wear shorts most of the time..Heck, I have a coworker that wears themmost of the year also..Her “winter” coat is a long sleeve shirt..The one that kills me is the people that wear flip flops all year long..I’m one that if my feet are cold, the rest of me is cold..

cld

January 5th, 2010
8:34 am

Becky, I wore flip-flops my entire college career. 12 months a year, except when I was working or running. Now, I can’t even wear open-toe shoes in winter without freezing! Maybe common sense kicks in sometime after college?

FCM

January 5th, 2010
8:41 am

My kids still have hand crocheted or knitted scarves. My Mom knits and I crochet. Those afgans (yes I have the zigzag and shell patterns) are the warmest blankets ever and my kids love them. We put them over the flannel sheets under the duvet and stay very toasty with thermostat at 68 or 72 depending on the wind or dampness outside.

Layers, layers, layers. undershirt, shirt, sweater, coat, gloves, undies, cords, and socks with good shoes. Hats, mittens, and scarves. Though my kids tossed their hats and scarves immediately in the car…they will learn.

Yes, I was born and raised in GA but my parents moved here from Michigan! Thus we were always in layers and having been brought up that way I do that to my own.

Justmy2cents

January 5th, 2010
8:42 am

Ditto to most of the comments above. I grew up in the midwest and PA, and it was all about the layers. My kids have, unfortunately, grown up in the South their whole lives, so they think this is the worst it can get. In PA, there were no school buses, so we walked. No buses- no real reason to close the schools when we had blizzards. Our bus stop moved this year, so I drive them to the stop and keep them in the car. As far as after school, if they want to go out and play, have at it (as long as your chores and homework are done first). Of course, they have to be dressed properly. I admit, I do set a bad example though. Today I have on a sweater & jeans…no coat, no gloves, no scarf. It is not too bad until the breeze kicks up.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 5th, 2010
8:45 am

Just had a battle with Walsh about his jacket — I gave him a sweat jacket to wear over his long sleeved shirt and he thought that was his jacket for the day and fought me about wearing his heavy coat. They just have no concept of what 19 degrees is. Also had the discussion in the car, if you walk to a class outside the building you must wear your coat!! for lunch or for specials — they were baffled by this because they usually don’t wear a coat to transfer to another classroom. But where will I put it??? on the back of your chair — but the cafeteria chairs are just stools they don;t have backs — stumped me for a little bit but then walsh said just sit on it.
good solution!

Becky

January 5th, 2010
8:45 am

@cld, too funny..

anne

January 5th, 2010
8:53 am

Born and raised in northern Wisconsin. Yes, walked to and from school (about 1 mile) every day unless the temp was below -10. Always played outside. Never occurred to us to stay indoors because it was cold. Always dressed in layers.

When my daughter was a baby and toddler, always purchased at least one pair of flannel-lined jeans/pants for winter. Had lots of sweatshirts for added layers. DD always wore undershirts in winter. Now that DD is a teen, she is still dressing in layers. She refuses to wear a hat, but will put up the hood of her jacket. We negotiated what kind of jacket she would actually wear earlier this winter. She needed a new jacket and I gave her a Lands End catalog so she could select what she wanted – then we negotiated. DD received a super cool (her term) scarf and gloves set from her grandparents for Christmas, so she is also wearing those today. We also had a great discussion this morning on what frostbite is and the effects of frostbite. It drove home my suggestions for outerwear.

meme

January 5th, 2010
8:53 am

As a life-long southerner and a middle-school teacher, I have seen kids get out of cars with shorts and t-shirts on in the dead of winter. The kids say that they don’t want to have to keep up with a jacket. These are the same kids who wear hoodies in the spring and fall and complain about how hot it is in my classroom. I actually wore some winter underwear to school this morning.

Worried

January 5th, 2010
8:56 am

Damn, you sure do worry about a lot don’t you?

Hey, meme...

January 5th, 2010
9:04 am

…what is “winter underwear”? Is it different from long underwear?

SRH

January 5th, 2010
9:08 am

Hi – I also grew up in extreme cold, Montreal to be exact, and we had the mittens on the radiator as well, and of course long johns. I remember also wearing (fake) fur-line boots, and always a long scarf. I don’t miss the cold, and wonder how my family can still survive the weather. One thing I did learn is that to survive and thrive in conditions like these, you have to gain an appreciation for cold-weather sports, such as skiing, skating and the like.

The Happy Democrat

January 5th, 2010
9:17 am

All of this is the fault of George W. Bush.

Obama needs to give me another bailout to help pay for warm clothes for my kids. Just because he is already paying my mortgage, and about to pay for my healthcare, doesn’t mean I am not entitled to warm clothes for my kids. I can’t afford it on my own. Between my gansta CDs, my lottery tickets and my rent-to-own rims, my welfare check don’t go as far as it used to.

Where’s my next bailout Obama?

Hi there

January 5th, 2010
9:25 am

I have just been layering up on clothes for both myself and my youngest. I have been putting heavy cream on her nose and cheeks before dropping her off for school just because she came back all red faced yesterday. I let my toddler run around outside, but I limit it to around 20 minutes at a time. Just enough time to let her run it out a bit, then head inside to warm up. If she wants to play more, then we play more. I think as long as you control how much time they are spending outside and look for clues that things are getting a bit to cold, (gray skin & blue lips)then you’ll be fine. Another thing we do is just walk the mall a few times. It gets borning just walking up and down, but it lets her run it out of her system a bit.

Light layers are best, cover all exposed skin and just limit the time exposed. Also, make a large pot of soup or chili to have on hand when coming back inside to warm up with. Which could also be something to do together to fill in the time at home and if your really daring you could bake some bread from scratch as well. It’s fun, you make a mess and have something to be proud of once your finished. Just be sure to take pictures to scrapbook.

SRH

January 5th, 2010
9:37 am

To the Happy Democrat – you are an idiot. This is not a political blog. Go spread your hate elsewhere. People like you are a joke – you would NEVER have the guts to say any of this in public, so you hide behind a blog – you are pathetic.

DB

January 5th, 2010
9:38 am

This is the kind of weather that sends me digging in to my ski box — the storage box where we keep all our ski clothes and accessories! Ski gloves and jacket are perfect in the cold, for walking the dog, I’ve got a long red winter coat that I dearly love — I’ve had so long that it’s come back into style (!) I’m kinda cold-natured anyway, and tend to feel the cold so I’ve always had warm gear — I have held on to my leather fur-lined gloves for eight years, now, Last time I was in NYC, I stocked up on pashmina scarves, so I think I have a color for every outfit, now, at $4 a piece! I’ve got a wonderful faux-fur hat that’s as cozy as it can be.

Because we enjoy skiing, I have a collection of long underwear that stays in the ski box for most of the year — my favorites are the silk ones that Lands End used to make (yummmm!), but the ones from Target are also nice (but disappearing quickly, I noticed.)

I know what you mean about the shorts — my kids have a friend who will only wear pants to work, any other time, he’s in shorts and sandals. I keep having this urge to wrap him in a warm blanket whenever he’s hanging around the house and ply him with hot chocolate!

Good tip on warming up the car — just don’t forget to open the garage door, folks! (I know, it seems obvious, but you’d be surprised . . .)

DB

January 5th, 2010
9:39 am

@ SRH: Shhhh – don’t feed the blog trolls . . . :-)

Wake me up when it's spring

January 5th, 2010
9:41 am

I made my 4-yr old make a solemn promise to me at daycare yesterday – I made him repeat to me – “I will wear my toboggan and gloves when I go outside.” We got the whole oompa loompa look going on in our house. I absolutely hate cold weather!

SRH

January 5th, 2010
9:42 am

@DB.You are right. I should not encourage idiots :)

Sug

January 5th, 2010
9:45 am

Two words UNDER ARMOR.

Hey, SRH...

January 5th, 2010
9:46 am

…what did the “Happy Democrat” say that was so bad? Did your brain freeze so that you cannot enjoy satire?

LongtimeEducator

January 5th, 2010
9:48 am

I love the cold when we only have a few days of it. I don’t think I could handle months of this like the residents in the north and midwest. As a classroom teacher for 32 years, I always tried to take my kids out for some running time, no matter how cold it got. Unfortunately, this is something often controlled by administration now and teachers are told NOT to take their students out if it is colder than 40 degrees. I think the main reason for this is due to the fact that the kids don’t attend school adequately dressed for the cold temps. Jackets are usually thin, if they have one at all!

Cammi317

January 5th, 2010
9:49 am

I sent my middle schooler out this morning with a long sleeved tee, with shirt over, with fleeced lined vest over with coat over all that. Plus, I made her wear leg warmers under her jeans. She was topped off with hat and gloves. I told her if she gets hot at school she can take some of it off, but she darned well better put it all back home before she gets on the bus to come home. I drive her in the mornings, but I still made sure she had every bit of it on when she hopped in the car.

Cammi317

January 5th, 2010
9:52 am

Oh, I am 37 and I grew up in Chicago and back then we wore snow suits and “moon boots” in the winter. I have been in Georgia for the past 23 years and my body has adapted to Georgia weather. I would play in the cold and snow for hours when I was younger, but now I get frost bite walking from the parking lot to my office…..

Jesse's Girl

January 5th, 2010
10:00 am

I really don’t worry too much about this. They have winter coats that I make them wear…there is no arguing. I heat the car up a bit early to do my part to destroy the ozone…and thats pretty much it!

DB

January 5th, 2010
10:02 am

My daughter was frantically looking for all-weather boots before she headed back to Athens — since her main mode of transportation is walking, we did some shopping before she headed back for new gloves and warm boots she can wear in the rain/snow. She even dug out a couple of pairs of ski socks!

TnT's Mom

January 5th, 2010
10:07 am

I too have a middle schooler who doesn’t want to wear pants. he did put on jeans and a sweatshirt this morning, but then when he realized that his shoes were in his Dad’s car and Dad had already left, he wanted to wear flip flops. He couldn’t understand why that wasn’t appropriate when it was 19 degrees outside. thankfully we found a pair of his brother’s shoes to wear.

JATL

January 5th, 2010
10:13 am

Hmmmm. I really don’t need a “yankee” to help me out with this one -it’s called common sense! Seriously -dress yourself and your kids in layers. Fleece items, long underwear, and the previously mentioned moisture wicking stuff is great. You don’t have to go buy a bunch of stuff though -a t-shirt with a turtleneck over it and another shirt like a button down, sweatshirt, sweater or fleece should be MORE than adequate with a jacket and hat! Gloves or mittens help. Tights or pants on girls -and I’ve seen a lot of leg warmers on little girls lately. Socks and warm shoes are good.

YES -kids should play outside! I guess in this day and age of the schools having to do the parent’s jobs, elementary teachers should look over all of their kids and determine if they all have adequate clothing to play outside in cold weather. If they don’t, then they should still try to take them to the gym or have some in-class exercise games going on.

Aquaphor works wonders on dry, chapped skin. There’s no reason to pay extra for the “baby” Aquaphor -it’s the same stuff as the adult tube in the moisturizer section that’s $1 less! Go ahead and put a coat on your kid’s face -it won’t hurt!

As far as teens with shorts or short-sleeved shirts on -if they’re that stupid, then they deserve to be cold. I won’t even force my 3 year old to wear a coat. It usually takes about 30 seconds outside before he agrees, but my philosophy is -if you want to be cold, then be cold. When you wise up you can put on your coat!

ajay2009

January 5th, 2010
10:16 am

Layers, layers, layers and I am very grateful that we have a warm vehicle to get us to and fro. I grew up in NYC and we wore snow suits and boots in the winter. I had two. One was a full body one that you wore a complete outfit under and the other was the separates–jacket and overalls-you wore the overalls all day and would make the swish-swish sound when you walked, LOL. And yep each classroom had a “coat room” that would be packed to the gills in the winter. My daughter knows nothing of truly dealing with the elements the way I had to. As for me my tolerance is way down for this weather. I am like the other poster who said they can’t stand even walking from the car to the office building in this weather. BRRRR!!!

RH

January 5th, 2010
10:19 am

@ mom2alex&max … were you ever a teenager? Let them dress like they want to with compromise on both sides. I let my child dress like you described on one occasion to send a message, and it worked. She dressed more weather appropriate thereafter. As an ADULT, don’t you think calling a CHILD a “dork” is a bit much? Do you often make fun of and bully children in this manner?

KMM

January 5th, 2010
10:19 am

This reminds me of my biggest pet peeve – stores that don’t cater to their customers. Now that it is truly cold and we realize that those gloves from last year have a hole or the 2yo’s jacket is suddenly too small, there are bikinis at Target. Just what I need! At least REI has great coats, but like someone said above, not worth the cost for the few weeks a year we use them. Last year my son out-grew his bathing suit in June. With the summer just getting started, all I could find was fall back-to-school clothes and warm coats. Grrr….

FCM

January 5th, 2010
10:21 am

I thought a toboggan was a type of sled. I looked it up in the dictionary and it said a type of sled. When did toboggan get another meaning? What does this article of clothing look like?

ajay2009

January 5th, 2010
10:27 am

FCM a to-boggan is a southern way of saying hat!

JATL

January 5th, 2010
10:31 am

Oh -a word about the trailers being “iceboxes”. They’re more like saunas! They have their own heating and air systems, so as far as temperature control they’re better than a regular classroom (that’s about their only benefit). When I taught my kids would get in early on cold days and jack the heat up to around 80. You couldn’t BREATHE it was so hot! Of course I immediately turned it down when I got in there, but there’s no reason to worry about the trailers being too cold.

@FCM -you’re right, a toboggan is a sled, but I have heard of winter hats (like stocking-type caps) referred to as “toboggan hats” -probably from the fact that people wear them when sledding.

FCM

January 5th, 2010
10:44 am

TY — I did of course realize a sled is not what the poster was referring too. I had never heard a hat being a toboggan.

SRH

January 5th, 2010
10:51 am

This blog brings back some memories! I remember watching “A Christmas Story” and actually being as bundled up as those kids, making it hard to lower my arms!

Julia

January 5th, 2010
10:52 am

I was going to take the boy to school but saw that I had a flat tire! I in my 44 years have NEVER had a flat tire.. I guess I can check that off the list!

I just bundle him up and now trying to take him / get him from school

Jane

January 5th, 2010
11:23 am

Wow JATL (@ 10:13):

*You call out Theresa by telling her to use common sense.
*You complain about school’s having to do parent’s jobs.
*You say Aquaphor for babies is the same as adult version, so put it on the baby’s face. It’s at a lower strength than the adult, there’s a difference!
*You call teens stupid if they want to try and look cool.
*Lastly – you don’t even force your 3 year old to wear a coat when it’s freezing?!?! That’s parenting?

Julia

January 5th, 2010
11:34 am

JATL – just get your kid tattooed… BEAR

Michelle

January 5th, 2010
11:39 am

Yep…layers! We used to play outside at recess IN THE SNOW! I actually think they still do this, but I’m not sure. I am from Indiana. Even though it’s not as cold down here as there, I still kept all of my coats “just in case.” It looks like they are coming in handy this year! :o)

For the little guy, I just make sure he has on a t-shirt and another warm shirt, a coat, hat and gloves. He gets SO hot during the day though. He will likely end up in just his t-shirt by the end of the day!

A thought to the worriers, since it is so cold right now, you might want to keep some “cold” supplied in your vehicle in case of a break down (extra jacket, gloves, hat, socks, etc.) That way, if you don’t bundle up warm enough (like I typically don’t) you will have something! At least put them in there for the kids who cannot tolerate the weather extremes as well as we can!

cofthenight

January 5th, 2010
11:53 am

I call a knit hat a “toboggan”, too. It drives my husband crazy, haha! I think it’s a Georgia/Tennessee thing. :)

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 5th, 2010
11:53 am

Don’t you southerners deal with 95 degrees and 90% relative humidity for MONTHS at a time over the summer? I’m from CO and protecting from frostbite seems a cinch compared to heat stroke. Just keep the kids dry. Wet in the cold is the killer. Keep them dry and you’ve won the battle.