Warmth is one of those areas parents in the United States seem to rarely think about. Everywhere I go I see hatless infants, infants and children who are under-dressed.
It is getting to be the time of year to think about physical warmth. There is a wonderful article here regarding this topic: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/12/06/warmth-strength-and-freedom-by-mary-kelly-sutton/
Here is part of that article for your careful thought and meditation:
“Cold is a stress for the body. Touch your child’s fingers and toes — with your own warm hand. (If your hand is cool/cold, first warm it up.) Then feel other parts: the trunk, front and back, abdomen, forehead, chest. The fingers and
toes should be as warm as the warmest part of the body. If they are
not, the child is dealing with cold stress, and you can help him/her a
great deal by changing the clothing so that fingers and toes become as
warm as they should be. Shunting blood away from the extremities is a
survival mechanism in the body. It protects the vital organs (heart,
lungs, liver, kidneys).
Cold stress can make children overactive, in an effort to warm up.
Warm clothing allows them to settle down, join in group activity,
focus and learn.
In some children coldness interferes with normal weight gain. I have
seen one wiry 5-year-old in New Hampshire who gained two pounds in the
first week her mother put her in wool underwear.
Runny noses commonly are related to coldness. And coldness is a
significant factor in more important immune suppression in a very
significant way. ‘The skin is the proper place for disease to happen,’
states an old holistic medicine pearl. If the skin is cool, the battle
with a common germ cannot be waged on the skin. The blood has gone
into the deeper organs, and with it, the battle is carried to deeper
I know it can be such a challenge to keep clothes on children! Just keep reminding yourself that just whilst you wouldn’t drive around without a child in a car seat, you will not under-dress your child. Be firm that when we put clothes on, we (get to go outside, go eat our snack, etc.). Hold that intention in your heart that this really is important for their health and carry that through!
My favorite place to order woolens and woolen/silk blends is through www.greenmountainorganics.com. However, I am completely not above thrift store finds.
Emotional warmth is an essential part of parenting. This was a three-day challenge I posted last October and think it would be an excellent time to renew this focus (the latter part of this focuses on spouses, so change the focus and language as appropriate to your household!)
“But I think the other thing to think about sincerely is how to convey EMOTIONAL warmth to our children. How many times a day do we laugh with our children? Hug our children or have them sit on our lap? Smile at our children? Say positive and encouraging things to our children?
So, my three-day challenge to you is this:
Set a goal for how many times a day you are going to try to laugh, hug, hold, smile and say positive things to your child and act on it! This may seem very stilted and forced, but sometimes we all need that structure in order to make a behavior more automatic. See after three days if there is a difference in not only you and your children, but in the peacefulness of your household. Can you also do this with your spouse? How many encouraging things do you say to him each day? How many times do you walk by him and touch his hand or touch him on the back or give him a kiss? “
After you hit three days of trying this, I would encourage you to mark forty days on your calendar and consciously try this for 40 days. I feel it takes 40 days to affect a true behavioral change!