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I'm a first-time mom to a 2-year-old girl. This is the first winter when I send her to daycare and I'm really unsure about how to dress her up. Earlier when she was home, we used to step out together. So I was essentially dressing her up for the moment and not for the whole day.

Ideally I want to dress her up such that she doesn't get too warm inside, but is comfortable when outdoors. They don't go out, if it's below 35°F / 1°C or snowing. Also, she isn't very verbal, so she can't ask the teacher to help her take off her jacket if she gets warm indoors. It's impractical for me to assume that the teachers will take off both sweater and jacket so that she can cool off indoors, and then bundle her up again (they have 14 kids... and I don't want to be 'that' mom).

My questions are:

  • What is warmer - fleece pants/fleece-lined jeans/ good ol' jeans or sweatpants?
  • Do we get knee-length, warm, thick socks in her sizes?
  • When they go out to play (when it's in late 30's- 40's / 5°C) is it better to wear one thick puffer jacket or layer with a sweater/sweater dress and a pea coat?
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Okay, I think you dress your child in layers. Daycares can be warm, so she doesn't want to be overdressed.

The daycare staff are paid to look after your child. You can ask them -- they are guaranteed to have rules and opinions. There might be clothing lists and requirements -- our daycare had them.

If they go out more than once -- an extra set of dry outdoor clothes are a good idea.

I sewed mittens to sleeves, and sent two sweater sets for each day -- one could dry and there was another set. The reason for sewing the mitts to sleeves was that there was no gap for snow or cold to reach little wrists. The teacher just pulls the sweater over Lo's head and her hands go right into place. I had two sets of snow pants, two hats, two pairs of boots, too. Same reason.

I shopped thrift stores for all the extras. Usually there's a place for your kid's stuff. Our daycare insisted on backpacks and I kept dry extras in there -- plus grocery bags for wet clothes. I checked the backpack every night and often had to run a wash or dry outerwear. OH! Duct tape comes in colours. I tried to buy the right colour for the job -- red for the red jacket. Black for the snowpants. It works wonders.

Also waterproof socks are a wonder.

LABEL everything and check for it when you pick her up. The longer you wait to look for or report missing items, the less chance of their return.

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What is warmer - fleece pants/fleece-lined jeans/ good ol' jeans or sweatpants?

The closer it is to the skin, the warmer it will feel but any additional layer will make it warmer. In the wintertime, our daughter usually wears indoors a pair of tights and jeans. We also have fleece-lined tights that do quite nicely with a dress.

Outdoors, she wears waterproof pants on top. You'll get fleece-lined waterproof pants too that you can use if she wears less below. Even if it isn't really cold, we put those on if it is windy and/or there is snow on the ground.

Do we get knee-length, warm, thick socks in her sizes?

Yes, but more importantly I check that there is no gap left between two pieces of clothing. Short socks will do as well if she wears footless ankle-long tights for example.

Is it better to wear one thick puffer jacket or layer with a sweater/sweater dress and a pea coat?

I usually layer because I like taking a thin layer off her shoulders when she gets too warm. However, I think that daycare rather goes by the rule "better too warm than too cold" and they won't take anything off unless explicitly asked by the kids. So several thin layers or one thick jacket won't make a difference in our case.

As for the fact that:

she isn't very verbal,

many kids aren't when it comes to clothing anyway. Playing around requires way too much concentration, I guess! My daughter is three and slowly starts to tell when her hands are cold... when they're already really cold. Usually she won't tell anything either if she's really warm.

So don't be afraid to be 'that' mom: it is their role to check that your child has the right cloth according to weather and activities. But even so, neither you nor they can constantly be on your child's back. Every kid has different needs so do as you best see fit and you'll get soon enough feedback if it is too much or not enough.

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