Family life

The constant battle to get kids in their winter wear

Jennifer Pinarski is fighting a losing battle to get her kids into their winter coats.

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Gillian in her hoodie. Photo: Jennifer Pinarski

Follow along as Jennifer Pinarski shares her experiences about giving up her big city job and lifestyle to live in rural Ontario with her husband, while staying home to raise their two young children.

I like to think that my Prairie born-and-bred children are hardier than their Ontario friends. Both Isaac and Gillian were born in the dead of Winnipeg winters and I’m pretty sure there’s a bit of anti-freeze running through their veins. Both kids are barefoot during the spring, summer and fall. They prefer hoodies to actual coats and I think they may be allergic to mittens and hats — but instead of breaking out in hives, they break out into epic tantrums when I mention putting on their winter outerwear.

Last winter, Gillian actually wore moccasins until January because it was the only thing I could convince her to put on her feet. On one occasion Isaac was kept indoors at recess because he refused to take his snow pants to school.

Read more: Winter wear for kids: 15 styles to stay warm >

To be honest, I believe my children when they tell me they aren’t cold — I don’t think they’re refusing to wear their winter gear to spite me. Besides, they’re only three and six and I know the full-on spite years are still ahead of me. Likely the funniest part of the winterwear battle is that the kids anticipate exactly what my husband and I will say after we’ve given up fighting with them about putting on mittens — each of them promise not to whine if they get cold.

And, true to their word, they don’t whine.

Their refusal to wear winter clothing, however, does raise a lot of eyebrows when we’re out in public. A few times a week, a well-meaning person scolds me for taking my children out without coats on, warning me that they’ll catch a cold or they’ll get frostbite. Keep in mind, our part of Ontario has only seen sub-zero temperatures once this month, and in comparison to the climate we’re used to in Winnipeg, -7C is downright balmy. I most often bite my tongue, or at least thank the stranger for their concern.

In this case, fighting with the kids to put on their winter clothes is a battle I’m frankly not interested in waging. We tell them to pack their gear into a backpack when we leave the house, which they must carry on their own. I encourage them to dress in layers, and both children usually opt for hoodies (which in some ways, makes buckling them into their car seats easier anyway).

We’ve tried games, bribes and that whacky put-your-coat-on-upside-down trick to get the kids to put on their winter gear without any luck. Do you have the same problems, too? Tweet me @jenpinarski.