Getting kids to wear coats is snow joke

AT the time of writing (February 6), there’s still about four inches of snow outside but we’re assuming school will be open this week.

Nevertheless it may be the ice rather than snow that throws the proverbial cat amongst the (frozen) pigeons. It’s meant to be bitterly cold this week and parents should be prepared.

It seems ridiculous to say but you do see children turning up at school without warm clothing. I don’t care if your children ‘don’t like wearing coats.’  You’re not their friend; you’re their adult, so insist they wear one. And if they refuse, make them walk the last couple of streets to school instead of getting a lift from door to door.

My elder two seem to think that coats are an optional extra when the temperature hovering around the zero mark, but they get dragged back to stick a coat on over their school uniform. No son, your blazer just won’t cut it. I don’t care what other kids do; you’ll secretly thank me for that coat. And yes, I do tell them that they “won’t feel the benefit” if they wear coats indoors.

The younger two are still, thankfully, at an age where they like a warm coat, hat, scarf and gloves, even if we do get through several every winter (only to find them cluttering up the house come the summer). I think I’ve bought at least four hats for Bonnie since November and even putting gloves on the old-fashioned string-through-the-coat-sleeves doesn’t seem to preserve them for long.

Bonnie and her snowman as brothers fight behind

But Bonnie recently announced that the navy blue snowsuit she’d been wearing for a couple of winters was a, far too tight and b, FOR BOYS. (Billy’s hand-me-down)

I did look around the shops for several weeks for an age-four snowsuit – not too puffy – but couldn’t find one. You may get lucky on Freecycle for coats, or by checking the charity shops. Kids can grow out of coats in a season and it can be an expensive business.

Then last week I found the perfect all-in-one at Blacks up at Riverside. It was pink, waterproof, not too bulky, and £20.

When the snow came at the weekend, our lot all layered up in warm coats and hats – even the boys, who know from experience the pain of a snowball hitting a cold ear or a being shoved down the neck.

While Bonnie was happy to join in hurling snowballs with her brothers, she soon got bored and devoted herself to making a tiny snowman, or lying on the ground making snow-angels. Meanwhile the boys’ snowball fight descended into all-out warfare, including fortified walls both at the Racecourse and in our tiny back garden, where they trampled my plants and lawn underfoot.

I’d like to tell you that Bloke and I observed maturely from a distance, but it would be a lie. Not only did we race each other inelegantly down hills on toboggans too small for our grown-up bums, but Bloke was at the heart of Sunday’s long-running snowball skirmish. And much to the disgust of our elder boys, we sneaked out to the Racecourse during Saturday’s late-night snowstorm to join other grown-ups building snowmen and running around like kids. OK, so we might not be the après-ski at Val d’Isere types, but at least we can still enjoy a bit of snow closer to home.

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