Rug Up: How to Dress Your Child this Winter

It’s that time of year again. The puffer jacket’s out of the closet, soup is back on the menu and you need to give yourself a pep talk just to crawl out of bed. Winter is well and truly upon us in Melbourne – with temperatures reaching the lowest in years – so it’s vital that you and your little ones are all rugged up for the chilly times ahead. 
 
We’ve compiled some handy tips to dress your child this winter without breaking the bank.  
 
Children Have Layers  
 
When picking clothes, it’s important to remember the three layers of clothing for children:  

  • Base layer: underwear, singlets, stockings, socks, etc. – this layer protects the skin from irritation, fits snugly and wicks away moisture. 
  • Mid layer: shirts, vests, lightweight wool, pants, etc. – this layer provides warmth, insulates body heat and doesn’t add much bulk.  
  • Outer layer: waterproof jacket, boots, gloves, beanie, etc. – this layer keeps wind and moisture away and makes up most of the bulk. It’s essential that this layer is waterproof and durable.  

Remember: it’s better to have too many layers than not enough, because layers can always be removed. The last thing you want is your child shivering at the park, on a playdate or in childcare for lack of a jacket!  
 
This is doubly important as some children aren’t verbal yet – or have learning disabilities – so they may not be able to communicate to an adult or Educator that they’re actually cold. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and rug up (just make sure to label each layer so they don’t end up in the lost property box at childcare!). 
 
A handy rule of thumb for toddlers is to consider how many layers you would need to keep yourself warm, then add one more.

 The Essentials  

  • Undershirts are a wonderful and cost-effective base layer to keep your child warm – especially for babies. Leggings and long sleeve shirts are a handy fit for all ages and sizes.   
  • Winter jackets are a must for outer layers – just be mindful of the size and material to avoid sweat chills. 
  • Woolly socks are perfect for frosty weather, but make sure they’re fitted tightly to avoid slipping on wooden floors (especially when playing games). However, socks are not the item to splurge on in winter; they go missing, they turn up with mysterious holes and they’re likely to get muddy and sopping wet when swimming in a puddle-filled gumboot. We recommend you opt for quantity here. 
  • Fleece-lined pants are a terrific choice as they’re light, breath well and are easy to clean and dry. Although more durable – avoid jeans. When wet they get heavy and can take a very long time to dry out.   
  • Gloves and beanies are a must this winter, but make sure any headgear covers the ears! 
  • Gumboots – an Australian classic for a reason. They’re durable, waterproof and come in a range of colours and designs. If it’s not going to be wet, you can’t go wrong with some trusty runners!  

Made of the Right Stuff   
 
The right choice of material is important to ensure comfort, warmth and to reduce irritation. Merino wool is an ideal underlayer as its odour-resistant, breaths well, naturally insulates and is super soft – so no need to worry about itchy skin! 
 
Synthetics such as polyester and Gore-Tex materials work well as an outer layer due to their waterproof nature, which is perfect for rain, outdoor activities and is durable enough for playdates and childcare. Avoid cotton as it insulates poorly, absorbs moisture and traps it to the skin, which actually makes you colder.  

TOG Rating   
 
If you’re wanting to dig deeper, you may want to explore the Thermal Overall Grade (TOG) – a standard unit of measurement to indicate a garment’s thermal insulation. This can help give you a map of what kind of clothes, and what combination, will work for your child without making them too hot. If you would like to read more about TOG ratings, click here.  
 
Our Educators at Explorers Early Learning always keep an eye on the little ones – especially outdoors – to ensure they’re properly fitted for all conditions. Additionally, the temperature of our rooms are carefully controlled so no child is too hot or too cold to learn and play. 
 
If you would like to book a tour of one our Centres, please click here or contact our friendly Family Support Team at 1300 000 335.