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On this side of the door, it’s pretty cozy. On the other side of the door, you see snowflakes whirling down the street, and the weather report warns of a deep freeze. The sun is shining, but there are ice crystals in the air.

“I’m fine, I don’t need my hat,” your child insists. “It’s not cold out!”

“I don’t want to wear my snow pants! Don’t put them in my backpack!”

You don’t want to send your child out, unprepared, to shiver through the morning recess, so you show your child the weather report. You point to the number, but your child doesn’t really “get” the idea of “-5” (just wait until you hear about Celsius versus Farenheit, kiddo) There’s just no way to persuade your perfectly comfortable indoor child that it’s a face-crackingly cold day out there. What do you do?

If your child is getting stuck, and wants to wear the same thing every day no matter what the weather, I do have a tool that might help.

Here’s why I love this tool for helping kids get ready for cold weather

  • It’s visual.
  • You can prepare it ahead of time.
  • It’s flexible, but it also satisfies your child’s desire for routine.
  • It’s easy to customize for each child, for different ages, and different climates

How to create a visual to get your child suited up for winter:

  1. Take a picture of the items your child will need on the coldest days (e.g., snowpants, scarf, mittens, hat, etc.)
  2. Take another picture of the items your child will need on the days that are a little warmer (e.g., just the coat, hat, and mittens.)
  3. Print these pictures, and label them: Normal Winter Day, and Very Cold Winter Day. If you want to, you can add the temperature or even the Wind Chill Factor (can you tell I’m writing this from Ontario, Canada?) so your child can look at the weather report, and then choose the matching picture.

If you are already struggling to help your child stay focused in the morning, I do have one more tool that you can use to take this to the next level. It’s my favourite app ever: CHOICEWORKS.

Choiceworks creates visual schedules for kids to follow. It’s completely customizable, and you can record your child’s voice or even take a little movie of your child putting on boots, so they can follow their own instructions!

Building your own ready-to-go schedule for winter

You can build your own “get ready to go” schedule by taking pictures of each item, and loading them into the schedule. This is ESPECIALLY helpful for kids who struggle with planning and organization (so common for children with ADHD or autism) because you can make sure your kids don’t accidentally put their mittens on before zipping up their jacket, or slip into their boots and then try to get into their snow pants.

Even better, you can make two different schedules: one for Cold Days and one for Very Cold Days. You can re-use the same photos, of course, so it’s very little extra work to get this set up.

So there you go! One more tool to help you suit up and enjoy the day, no matter what the weather.

 

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