Family & Parenting

How To Get Your Kid To Wear A Winter Coat

From toddlers to teens, some just refuse...

It seems so simple—when it’s cold, you put a coat on. But all parents know that this simple logic just doesn’t seem to apply to their toddlers, kids and teens. In kids’ minds, a winter jacket is equivalent to a straitjacket, and they will try any maneuver to get out of it.

Are coats really that uncool? Did Justin Bieber issue a public ban against coats or something? No! He probably has a ton of coats. NBA stars wear coats. Cartoon characters wear coats. Santa wears a coat!

None of that matters. To some kids, coats are pure evil. But parents—before you give up, it’s time to get creative.

Getting Older Kids To Wear Coats

There are several ways to approach getting older kids to wear a stinkin’ coat. Mostly, you have to get them involved in the process.

  1. First and foremost, go shopping together. If they have even a small say in the kind of coat they’re wearing, your son or daughter might be more willing to give it a try, even if it means bartering with the name-brand option.
  2. Have your child go outside first thing in the morning. Let the wind hit their smooth, youthful skin. Then let them decide if it’s really warm enough to leave the coat at home.
  3. Pack the coat anyway! So maybe they don’t leave the house wearing the coat, but if they take it to school or to a friend’s house, perhaps they’ll come home wearing it.
  4. Set your own ground rules when it comes to the temperature or the wind chill factor. Let your child know that if it’s only (fill in the blank) degrees outside, a coat is not an option.
  5. You can always compromise. If your kid is completely against the idea of a coat, try a hoodie.
  6. Don’t use that old “you’ll get sick” line. Kids are smart. They’ve likely heard the old wives’ tale and know the cold itself doesn’t really make you sick. Don’t patronize them.

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Getting Younger Kids To Wear Coats

Luckily, it’s a bit easier to persuade a toddler to wear a coat (as long as they’re not screaming their face off!). Here’s how get the younger kids to play along.

  1. Always bring the coat and let them come to you! It won’t be long before they realize they’re cold, and they’re asking mom or dad for the jacket you brought in the car.
  2. Consider for a moment that your little one really is overheated or uncomfortable. Try a lighter jacket first. Perhaps the collar is too tight or the fabric is really itchy. Maybe they’re only refusing one coat, not all coats in general.
  3. When you need some reinforcement, consider getting the teacher involved. Tell your child’s teacher that recess isn’t allowed without a coat.
  4. Like the older kids, try layers like a long-sleeved tee with a sweater and scarf.

At any age, ultimatums can either aid or hurt your cause. If you tell a child they can’t go somewhere without a coat, they are putting on the darn coat as long as it’s somewhere they want to go. But if you’re going to the dentist, for example, your plan just backfired.

Of course, no parent wants to see their kid shivering at the bus stop. But the other concern is what other adults are thinking. Scary Mommy writes, “No, Stranger on the Street, I can’t ‘make’ my kids wear a coat or hat. My son is 11-years-old and nearly as big as me. I assure you—it would be physically impossible to push his arms into a coat, and even if I could, I wouldn’t. You know, body autonomy and all.”

Scary Mommy

At the end of the day, pick your own battles. You may realize “Coatgate” isn’t worth it after all. In the meantime, try these six other ways to keep you and your family healthy during the winter months.