It was sunny, sure, but it was FREEZING. Munchkin was in a hat, winter coat and woolen layers top and bottom. I was in my winter coat and cursing having left my hat at home. And here were these little ones running around in barely anything.
Waldorf teachers will all tell you the same thing ... keep your children warm! Young children might not feel the cold, so its our job as mothers to dress them properly. Warm means layers of natural fibres ... think cotton and wool underwear, slippers inside and shoes, hats and jackets outside. (cotton hats inside too for babies ... they are usually practically bald afterall). Children who are warm play better, grow better and behave better.
Warmth is probably one of the greatest gifts we can give our children.
Not only the warmth as love but the physical warmth of their body.
Children are developing their bodies especially during the first 7 years of their lives.
An infant and a young child will always feel warm unless they are on the verge of hypothermia because they have an accelerated metabolic rate. If we don't
provide them with the layers of cotton and wool to insulate their bodies, then they must use
some of their potential "growth" energy to heat their bodies. This same
energy would be better utilized in further developing their brain, heart, liver, lungs etc.
In addition, being cold decreases our immunity. We are all more susceptible to
the germs and viruses that are always around us when we are wet
and cold. When our body has to expend extra energy to keep warm
then less energy is available to "fight" off infections.
Susan R. Johnson MD, The Importance of WarmthBeing in the middle of winter here, everywhere I go in Steiner circles this message about keeping children warm is being hammered home. In particular, the teachers stress the importance of keeping feet and heads warm ... this means woolen socks and woolen hats. Also long singlets or bodysuits so tummies and backs are kept covered ... gosh I sound like my grandma!
I know how hard it is to get, and keep, warm clothes on young children. I'm the first to admit I haven't always been perfect at this myself. But, as mothers we manage to keep our children from running on the road, climbing on wobbling bookshelves, eating lollies all day ... in other words we manage to enforce the limits we really believe in.
In our house, getting Munchkin to wear slippers is a constant battle. But, with wooden floors wearing them is non-negotiable. We are making some progress, but honestly I think she is the kind of child who would prefer to go barefoot all winter. What I have had some success with is this - when the slippers come off, mum won't do anything until they are back on ... its kind of like playing that game statues where everyone freezes!
A good friend of mine manages to keep her girls in sunhats outside all summer ...a task many have said is impossible (including me at one time!). Her approach is simply this ... if the hat comes off the child goes inside until the hat comes back on. I heard someone else comment how 'hardline' she is ... but its about keeping your child safe and healthy ... these things are really worth insisting on!
Donna Simmons relates her experience getting her boys to wear hats here ... I found this post quite motivational!
I'd love to hear other mums stories about winning the warmth battle ... let me know how you do it!