So for the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing some of our strategies for traveling out of doors in the winter months. As I mentioned in the last post, one of the challenges with winter travel is keeping track of all the extra gear needed to keep you and your children warm. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been searching for a mitten, boot, sock, snow hat, etc. right as we’re getting ready to head out the door or how many times I’ve backtracked my path to locate one of the aforementioned items my child has pulled off during the walk. I’m happy to report that I have a pretty good track record of locating things–once had a Cinderella moment at Disney World where we lost a sandal and were able to locate it three days later. , It’s always better not to have to spend the time looking for things if you don’t have to though. So, since colder weather brings the need for some extra gear, here are a few strategies for keeping track of all that gear along with some suggestions of other useful gear when traveling with your children.
Tips for Keeping track of Cold Weather Clothing
- Create a “launching station” a.k.a. a designated spot for all the things you need when you go out (i.e., cane, bag, coats, etc.) in this same area, keep a basket or bin to store extra mittens, boots, hats, scarves–all that little loose stuff you don’t want to float around your house when you’re trying to get out the door. This way when you’re getting ready to leave, all your items are hopefully in one place so you don’t have to go searching around for them.
- Train your family members to put all their items here when they come home–a constant process I know, but maybe one day they’ll catch on.
- Safety pin snow hats/beanies to the back of your child’s coat or the hood of the coat so that they don’t get lost if your child pulls them off
- Mittens on strings are a life saver! Definitely look for these. Not only does it keep gloves with the child’s coat if your child pulls his gloves off, but you won’t have to waste time looking for gloves before going out. Then, leave the mittens strung inside the coat when you put the coat away. You could also safety pin mittens to the cuff of your child’s coat sleeve, in a pinch, but this is a bit more awkward for your child and the pins tend to pop off if your child pulls too hard . You can also try these cute mitten clips which come in a variety of colors and patterns.
- Purchase a package of several pairs of mittens for your children. Keep a pair with each coat/jacket for your child, and a pair in each of your outdoor coats (just in case.” This way you will have extras for those inevitable occasions.
- Keep a pair of gloves/mittons for yourself in each of your coats/jackets. This way, you’ll always be prepared and don’t have to worry about remembering to switch out your gloves if you use different coats (i.e., dress coat, everyday coat, etc.)
Baby Gear Advice
- Use a blanket with your stroller. Cover your child and tuck the blanket in on the sides and around his feet. Be sure to watch out that it isn’t going to drag near the wheels of your stroller. Tucking it in tightly will also keep your child from kicking it off or pushing it down into the wheel area.
- Using something like a “Snuggie Tail”,(a.k.a. mermaid tail) or small sleeping bag can also be helpful to slip over your child in a stroller. I suggest the snuggie because they are smaller and not as bulky as a sleeping bag. My kids have one and it has worked well for my toddler in the stroller as it’s not too long and hanging over the sides of the stroller. Keep in mind that this may change how you are able to restrain your child since you won’t be able to pull the strap through their legs, but for an older toddler who will stay in their seat, or for straps that will go around the waist, (like if using a wagon) this can be a good warm option and is easier than using a blanket which tends to slip off when the child wiggles or tugs on it. I also saw this great thing called a Baby Sleeping nest which is like a light weight down sleeping bagbut it goes over the child’s shoulders like a vest. I wish I’d seen this a few years earlier in my parenting career as I’d love to have checked it out.
- Storing a blanket in your stroller year round–keeps your child warm in the winter, and is useful at other times of the year for outdoor picnics or playdates. Something in a fabric like a denim or heavier polyester is good because if it does get on the ground, you want to be able to shake the debris off rather than have it stick to the fabric like it would on fleece or flannelfabrics.
- Use an elastic infant seat cover like this which you can slip over a carrier when not inside a vehicle to protect your infant from the cold. I used one like the style I linked to above with my children when they were infants and it came in really handy, especially on windy days. It was also really easy to take on and off of the carrier and could be used when the carrier was snapped into the stroller.
Well, there you go. I hope all of this has been helpful. Oh, I almost forgot the most important thing of all…always warm up after an outing with a big mug of something warm!