How to teach children what clothes to wear in cold weather

Updated May 10, 2017

Young children often balk at putting on snowsuits, mittens, hats and boots. Some children would even happily walk out the door without a jacket in cold weather. It's important to teach children what clothes to wear in cold weather for their health and safety. By letting kids experiment with cold-weather clothing before winter, they will be more comfortable bundling up for cold weather and will be proud to show their cold-weather know-how.

Talk to your children about the importance of staying warm in cold weather. Discuss the signals that your body gives you when you are cold (shivering, goosebumps, stiff fingers) and talk about the danger of frostbite.

Have children practice putting on cold weather clothing. It takes time for small fingers to master zipping jackets, pulling on gloves and fastening boots. Devoting a few minutes several times per week during the fall for your child to practice dressing for cold weather allows him to save time when he has to go outside in freezing temperatures.

Let children dress paper dolls or toy figures in winter clothing. Ask them to dress their dolls for a snowy day or for a cold but sunny day. Show them the difference between the snowsuit they might wear when playing outside and the jacket that they may wear when going shopping on a cold day, and ask them to dress their toys for different winter situations.

Buy or make a clothing indicator thermometer. You can make one by attaching small pictures of coats, hats, mittens and boots to the lower temperatures on a dial thermometer, sweaters and jackets to the medium temperatures and hot weather gear on the higher temperatures.

Teach kids to dress in layers. They should wear a few lightweight layers under their winter outerwear to stay comfortable. Tell children that if they get hot they should ask an adult to help them remove a layer of clothing, but not to take off their coats or mittens without checking with someone first.


Use your calendar to show children when the coldest weather should come. Slightly older children may enjoy making a graph or chart of the temperature or the weather throughout the winter. Small children often find mittens easier to put on than gloves, but bigger children usually prefer gloves, as they allow more finger motion. Supply your child with both so that she can choose which she'd rather wear.


Don't overdress your child. Doing so could lead to overheating.

Things You'll Need

  • Warm coats
  • Snowsuits
  • Winter hats
  • Mittens
  • Scarves
  • Boots
  • Temperature chart or thermometer
  • Paper or felt dolls
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About the Author

Michelle Kulas worked in the health-care field for 10 years, serving as a certified nurses' assistant, dental assistant and dental insurance billing coordinator. Her areas of expertise include health and dental topics, parenting, nutrition, homeschooling and travel.