The five stages of getting kids to wear seasonally appropriate clothes

Fall is here, which means so is the battle to get your kids to wear toques and mittens.

getting kids to wear their mittens
Gillian in a toque and scarf…finally. Photo: Jennifer Pinarski

Here in Ontario, we enjoyed a blissfully warm (dare I say, hot) September. But now that October has arrived, so have cooler temperatures, along with a new morning battle here in my house: getting my kids to wear seasonally appropriate clothing. After being spoiled by mornings with temperatures in the mid-teens, there was frost on my car this morning and the thermometer was hovering just above zero. Still, my kids refused to wear anything other than the summer clothes they’ve worn since school started. I’m sure most parents are able to relate to the five stages of trying to get kids to wear coats and mittens.

1. Preparation
Take winter clothing out of storage and try to find matching mittens, toques and leggings that don’t have holes in them. Look at the weather forecast with your kids and remind them that the snowflakes don’t mean they’re getting to watch Frozen at school; it means that they will be frozen if they don’t wear jackets and mittens. This is also a good time to teach kids that just because the sun is shining doesn’t mean it’s actually warm outside.

2. Bribery
In the morning, prep yourself with an arsenal of bribes to get your kids to wear pants. Candy, screen time and a puppy are my recommendations. Last week, I was even prepared to give in to demands by my five-year-old daughter, Gillian, for a baby sister if she would only put on pants.

3. Defeat
If all your bribes fail, do the walk of shame to the bus stop. This walk will be very slow because your kid will need to stop every few feet to blow on her frozen fingers or ask to be picked up because she’s cold. An alternative scenario is that your kid will have to run to the bus stop because she spent the morning arguing that the seam on her toque bothers her ears and now she’s late.

4. Guilt
Load your shivering, coat-refusing kid on the bus and feel like the worst parent in the world because your kid is not only cold but also sad knowing that she won’t get a puppy because she didn’t put on pants. Go back home and see the pants, mittens, jackets and toques scattered all over your house. Gather up the rejected outerwear, make a classroom-sized Thermos of hot chocolate and drive to the school. Your cover story is that you wanted to bring in hot chocolate for all the students in class to celebrate the fall equinox—you know, in case anyone asks if you feel guilty about bringing warmer clothes for your kid to school.

5. Victory
Look at the weather forecast with your kids the next morning and point out that there’s a minus sign in front of the temperature. Watch your kid begrudgingly put on a coat, matching mittens and a scratchy toque and do her own walk of shame to the bus stop. Drive to the pet store and buy a puppy.

Follow along as Jennifer Pinarski shares her experiences of 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. Read more Run-at-home mom posts or follow her @JenPinarski.

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