This is Part 2 of a 3 part series looking at preparedness for kids when they go back to school. If you haven’t read part one on Knowledge, you can read it by clicking here.
While it may seem odd to consider their clothing to be a layer of preparedness, it is probably the most important for kids. Think about this scenario: There is an earthquake and the kids have to evacuate the building (for the sake of this illustration we’ll assume that the building hasn’t collapsed, but it isn’t safe to stay in the building until it is properly checked out). They are going to be congregating in the parking lot for the next 4 hours until parents can arrive. Oh, and since it’s Oregon, its 45 degrees and raining. While I’m sure my son and daughter would love a snack, what they really need is to stay warm and dry. Checking the forecast each morning and making sure that they have the appropriate clothing on or available to them is the first line of preparedness. With that in mind, here are some ideas to consider when it comes to clothing.
Material and Construction
Waterproof jackets are always great because they help with rain and snow. I prefer to buy jackets that have two parts the outer shell (provides the waterproof layer and some warmth) and the inner jacket that is usually fleece or equivalent (provides extra warmth). This allows my child to adjust the jacket based on changes in the temperature and weather in general. If this isn’t an option for you, you can accomplish a similar setup with a rain jacket and a sweatshirt.
Most kids think about their jacket pockets as a place for their hands or the rocks and flowers they find on the playground. I think of pockets as a place to prepare. In our family, our everyday jackets are waterproof and have lost of zipper pockets. I store a small hat (no pom-poms on top) and a pair of gloves (thinner fleece or synthetic material, not thick snow gloves and definitely not mittens) in each jacket. The zippered pockets help to make sure they don’t fall out.
Materials and Construction
Kids go through shoes so fast it is hard to justify spending a lot of money on each pair, and you don’t need to. These aren’t for mountain climbing they just need to be solid quality. We prefer close-toed shoes made out of leather or a synthetic waterproof fabric, if we can find them. The goal is to keep them dry and warm. As they wear them, keep an eye on the tread and sole. This is the only protection that they will have if they have to walk over debris.
Finding socks for kids in the morning and getting them to wear them can be an ordeal (or maybe that’s just at our house), but they are important none the less. Socks help protect the feet and can provide warmth during colder months. We don’t buy fancy socks for our kids, for two reasons:
- They grow out of them so fast.
- They aren’t performing elite athletic tasks, so the specialty or performance socks would be overkill.
We just buy good quality socks that fit their feet. Keep an eye out for wear spots and small holes to make sure that they don’t turn into big holes. If the socks have holes, throw them away. The goal is to keep the skin of their feet from rubbing inside the shoe, so wearing socks with holes defeats the whole purpose.
As a parent I know what you’re thinking, “the weather can change unexpectedly,” “my child only likes to wear shorts,” “our school has a dress code,” (or something similar). Those are all fair points, there are lots of variables when it comes to dressing children. The point of this article is to provide a reminder that clothing, in many ways, is a first line of protection for your child. It is exhausting to think about reminding them to take a sweatshirt or a jacket, for the 400th time, but after you’ve mentally beaten your head against a wall, remind them for the 401st.