Every autumn, like a harmonious chorus, Camellia teachers begin singing the song of warmth, reminding parents to dress their children in layers and to fill their cubbies with extra socks, mittens, and hats. Have you ever wondered why we love warmth so much? Unlike adults, young children don’t have the same ability to maintain and regulate their body temperature. In fact, children under the age of seven expend a lot of energy when they are cold in trying to regulate their body temperature, as that that function is still developing. In contrast, when a child is properly dressed for cold weather, the child has more energy for imagination, play, learning new things and growth. Yes, growth! Birth to seven is a period of rapid growth and maturation and it takes a lot of energy. Rudolf Steiner believed that warmth was key to supporting a child's body in having the proper energy to grow and develop physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and Steiner saw a direct connection between maintaining warmth in childhood to physical health and emotional warmth in adulthood.
As adults, let’s think about warmth - soup, tea, a cozy blanket, snuggling in on a rainy day, being fireside, or basking in the sun, all of these have a quality of warmth to them. If you think about how it feels to embrace a warm cup of tea on a cold winter morning, there is no denying the innate connection between physical warmth and emotional warmth - that feeling of security and safety.
We all benefit from warmth and helping our young children stay warm as we approach the colder days of the year will help them at school and home, assisting them in making the most of this time of year.
Some of our favorite warm things for our youngest of students are:
1. Dress children in layers! For the coldest days of winter, moisture-wicking base layers are a great place to start. Build upon the base layers with a long-sleeved t-shirt, layered with a sweater or sweatshirt, and a good winter parka. Then top it all off with a warm hat and scarf! A good indicator of whether they are warm enough is to feel their hands - if they are cold, they need some additional layers.
For autumn and spring, when the mornings are crisp and the afternoons warm, skip the long-sleeved base layers, and instead layer with a t-shirt, sweatshirt and light jacket. Vests are fabulous as well.
On rainy days, make sure they stay warm by keeping them dry with proper rain gear from head to toe. Warm and dry puddle jumpers make for the happiest of children.
2. Warm up their foods. Fill a thermos with a hearty, warm soup or porridge for your child’s snack or lunch. An extra thermos for warm tea is a great addition as well.
3. Candles at mealtime. Family dinner by candlelight is special and warm, nourishing not only the physical body but the emotional and soul life of the family.
4. Snuggle in for a story at bedtime. Nothing can replicate the warmth and joy of getting cozy with your children for a sweet bedtime story.
5. Wear slippers at home. Leave the boots by the door and have the family slip into their favorite pair of slippers.
6. Warm Epsom salt baths before bedtime. This timeless recipe is one for people of all ages.
We love to hear from our families on how they stay warm. Please share your tips and favorite cold-weather layers. It can take a while to find the right hat and clothing to layer up with, but the feeling of warmth your children will experience is worth all of the effort.