As a little girl growing up in Norway, I experienced all the benefits that wool brings. Playing outside in a country where winters are notoriously cold, I took it for granted that I could be warm and comfortable in all weather conditions. Now, of course, I know that it all came down to what my parents dressed me in. An often heard expression in Scandinavia is:
“There is no such thing as bad weather,
there is only bad clothing”
We want to know our little ones are warm, but without overheating. So let’s look at how to dress our children for comfortable play in frost, wind and snow. It comes down to the importance of dressing in the right sort of layers; wearing wool next to the skin and weatherproof next to the weather.
The Right Choices
On those cold mornings you want to think about regulating body temperature so that your child won’t be too cold, but also not too warm. Often our concern to keep children warm means we overdress them. However, this can mean they will be too warm so they sweat and get wet, which in turn makes them cold. The colder it is outside, the more important it becomes to stay dry to keep warm and comfortable.
Children need to dress in layers, the same as adults. But it doesn’t have to be lots of layers, and it doesn’t have to feel bulky and uncomfortable. The best choices are thinner layers of good quality clothing underneath great quality outerwear. Air becomes trapped between layers to insulate your child more effectively, and with such layers you can also make adjustments more easily keep an even, comfortable body temperature.
The Woollen Layer First
The benefits of wool are unmatched by any other fabric. Wool is fantastic with its breathability, antibacterial properties and natural ability to hold liquid. It is a natural choice in winter for layering. Your children will like it as it’s very soft and will keep them comfortable.
When you have wool under you don’t need lots and lots of layers over. Wool used to be thought of as itchy and uncomfortable, but it’s now rightfully claiming a good name for itself. Quality clothes, and in particular children’s clothing, use the softest wool, and very often merino wool (merino sheep have the softest wool of all). In other words, rest assured your child will feel happy and comfortable.
Why Not Cotton? Cotton can feel nice to wear, however it does not do much to shield your child from the cold. In particular, it is not a first choice to wear next to the skin. If your child runs around and gets sweaty during play, cotton products lose all insulating property because it will both feel and stay wet for a long time. Instead, look for a nice fleece, which is a great layer over your woollen layer when it gets cold outside.
So, for your little one’s comfort and your peace of mind, focus on wool.
Seal the Deal
Now that you’ve taken care of underlayer, dresses, trousers, tops and cardigans, it’s time to focus on how to seal the deal with great outerwear. A must-have for your little one’s outdoors adventures is a coat or all-in-one in waterproof, windproof, and breathable material. This way you keep the wind at bay and your child dry. Moisture passes through the material and evaporates, rather than clinging to your child’s body. Some outerwear has a dirt-repelling coating, which means you can wipe clean with a wet cloth. It’s important that seams are protected so water doesn’t seep in anywhere. In Scandinavia all children wear something that ensures they are visible and safe when out and about in darker winter afternoons, and I’d advise looking at whether your little one’s outerwear feature reflecting details (and if not, find some that can be tagged or stuck on).
Accessorising is always important! And of course in the cold and wet your little one’s head, ears, neck and hands are all exposed and in need of shelter. Hats are best when they ensure ears are covered, and the most winter proof are wool or fleece – or both! A bare neck is not comfortable in colder weather, but a scarf can get in the way of play. A great solution is the wool neck – easy to pull over the head, nice and snug to wear and play can continue uninterrupted. As for those little hands to stay lovely and toasty, wool and fleece are again a great combination, though waterproof mittens are of course the ultimate champions.
Top Four Facts about Wool
You want wool products that have thin fibres, making them soft, warm and non-itchy – whether it’s underwear, dresses, tights or cardigans. Here are the exceptional qualities that wool brings:
• Your child will warm up quickly, but won’t overheat due to wool’s exceptional breathability. Air pockets in wool fibres lock in body heat, buffering against the cold
• As your child is running around, wool absorbs moisture without feeling damp or clammy. Wool fibres absorb perspiration and wick it away from the body, thus keeping your child warm and dry.
• Wool is temperature regulating, making it the best wear for adapting to changing weather conditions. This unique property means it warms your child in colder conditions and cools in warmer conditions.
• The right wool products are soft and comfortable, not itchy. Your little one will feel nice and snug.
Scandinavian style is gorgeous, focusing on clean lines, high quality and practicality, with clear hints of fairytales and fresh air.
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