Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Brrr! What if they won't dress warm?

It's cold!  Your kids have warm coats, gloves, and hats but your 10 year old still runs out the door without his or your strong willed 3 year old simply prefers her pretty princess pink spring coat and won't wear anything else.  What's a parent to do?!

Here are some Love and Logic possibilities:
  1. Offer choices:  Do you want to wear your coat or carry it?  (or for the pretty pink princess coat problem ask, "Do you want to wear over coat over the princess coat until we get where we're going or carry it?)
  2. Require a deposit: You can wear your coat or not wear it as long as you have the cost of a doctor's office visit in an envelope on my desk.   I will return the money to you in spring if its never used. If they ask how much a doctor's office visit is, give them the number to call.   (Probably about $80 unless you have a copay but you don't have to tell them about the copay) 
  3. Some parents don't say anything but pull a surprise later when kids want to go somewhere and simply say, "I am so sorry.  It is dangerously cold outside.  I can't trust you to dress warmly enough to be safe so I just can't let you go."
  4. Model: wear your coat!  Talk out loud to yourself as you decide how warmly to dress:  "I think I'll need a hat today!"
  5. If your child is otherwise normal and healthy, don't write a note asking the teacher to keep your child in because they forgot their coat.   A Love and Logic teacher confronted with a child who forgot their coat might turn the problem back over to the child:
          Teacher:   Oh that is so  sad.  What will you do about that?
          Student:    I don't know.
          Teacher:  Would you like to know what other kids have tried?
          Student:   I guess.
          Teacher:  Some kids borrow a coat from lost and found.  Some kids just keep running around to
                         stay warm.  Some kids get all their friends to stand around them and keep them warm.  
                         Some kids volunteer to help the janitor do yucky chores inside while their friends go
                         outside.

A child who gets cold because they were negligent will learn their lesson if they are not rescued.  Of course, frost bite is an issue so you need to know if you can trust that a teacher will not let your child get "that" cold.

Bottom line: figure out a way to deal with this that allows the child to be responsible, make decisions, and live with the consequences of their choices.

Got any other ideas?

Stay warm! 

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