When winter comes around, it’s time to consider how to keep homestead kids warm. Especially when there are chores to be done, it’s important that our little ones are comfortable and safe and warm. Plus, it’s way more fun when your little ones aren’t complaining of cold fingers!
This has been one of the coldest winters in a decade in NE Missouri, and certainly the coldest one for my kids, who spent their first years in the more mild, rainy Oregon climate. We have not been able to get outside every day – particularly when the wind chill is -25 degrees! But most days, we all head out as a family to bring water back from the pond, collect chicken eggs, ski, or just get some fresh air and exercise.
So how do I keep the kids warm in winter?
Three ways: 1) Fuel their body with nutrient-dense, whole foods, 2) Layer them in natural fiber clothes, and 3) Have a warm place to come home to.
When my kids were babies, it was actually pretty easy to keep them warm. We dressed them in warm layers, and wrapped them up in a Moby Wrap, or other baby carrier. My body heat helped keep them toasty! As they got older, I had to rely more on their clothing to keep them warm.
Start with Wool
We have always used wool as our first layer on cold winter days. Even as infants, my kids have been covered in wool long underwear from Ruskovilla (made in Finland). I have tried several other brands, but these are by far the thickest, most durable woolies I’ve come across. They are expensive to buy new, so I buy them up a size so the kids can wear them for several years and hand them down to the next sibling, and I hunt for used pairs on eBay or on natural clothing Facebook or Yahoo groups.
High Quality Kidswear
I love to knit, so I make the kids sweaters and vests when I can. I also make a point of buying high quality gear for them. I purchase wool socks, down jackets, and ear-covering hats (these ones were made by my friend Randi of Randi Jo Fabrications). I also love the super warm and ultra fashionable kidwear by Ducksday, which I get from Ollie and Stella Outfitters. Again, some of this is second-hand, but some I buy new because it’s important to me to buy gear that will actually work to keep my kids warm. We love Bog or Muck brand boots because they are super-insulated and waterproof.
The hardest body part to keep warm has been fingers. Striking a balance between warmth and mobility is tricky, particularly with kid mittens, which tend to be bulky. Everett seems content with a double lined pair of fleece mittens, but I’m still working on finding a perfect pair for Ella.
After playing outside and helping on the homestead, we head indoors, warm up next to our wood stove, and re-fuel for our next adventures!
If you’re homesteading with young kids, check out my book, Family Homesteading! It’s chock full of projects, recipes, and how-tos for homesteading with the whole family, without overwhelm!