How to Dress Your Kids for Snowy Weather

Proper Winter Gear for Kids

It’s been an especially harsh winter, darn that polar vortex. The girls were out of school all last week. And to keep sane I kept getting them to go outside and get their yayas out. As I learned during our year in Minnesota, the key to getting your kids outside is dressing them properly. And with areas that normally are mild getting inches of snow, I figured it was a good time to pass on some tips!

The first mistake most people make is pouring on the layers. It’s worth it to invest in the right gear so your kiddo is free to move around. Also, too much and they got hot and start to whine. Whining is extra annoying in cold weather.

On the left is my daughter’s base outfit:

  • knee socks (preferably Smart Wool)
  • thermal top
  • leggings

Now comes the gear!

Three Steps of Dressing Your Kid for Snow and Cold Weather

  1. Snow pants and a fleece (I prefer the bib because it reduces the chance of pants falling/coats riding up and cold bellies as a result. I have had fancy snow pants and ones from Target. They work equally as well (the ones above are 4T from Target that my kids have been wearing for three years, another advantage of the bib type.) Look for interior fleece and ruching at the legs (see three.)
  2. Add on a hat and gloves. You want gloves that are tight at the wrist and have padded palms. The hat should come down over their ears and be tight enough to stay on without tying.
  3. Before putting on snow boots, pull your child’s pants up so the snow boot comes up over the lining of the pants but the top of the boots are covered by the actual pants. This prevents the dreaded snow influx that leads to cold toes.

The final step: THE COAT!

I still occasionally go cheap here but my goal is to find a great one used (I prefer Land’s End.) The things to look for are:

  • hood
  • waterproof outside
  • fleece or other warm lining
  • wrist cuffs
  • buttons over neck

As a secret weapon, I like to tie a set of knitted mittens to the coat hook of my girls’ coats. That way they always have mittens on days that get cold. And when they go outside to play, they can keep going if they lose a glove.

Hope this helps you survive winter!


  1. These are great wintery weather tips … my kids just want to throw anything on and play in the snow – then I have to take them to the doctor for sore throats! Dress for the weather I tell them!

  2. I grew up in the North East where it took us longer to put on and take off our ‘warm’ clothes for the snow than it did for us to eat breakfast, ha!!! Being in Texas, I totally miss those long moments! HA

  3. Great tips! We have had too many below zero days this year. 🙁

  4. I agree that layers are the way to go in snow. What bothered me about the kids going out to play in the snow, was that when I got them all bundled in layers and snow suits, they had to use the bathroom. Then, once finished and rebundled, they wouldn’t stay outside more than 15-20 minutes!!

  5. We do a lot of warm weather dressing around here. it is actually second nature to us as we have snow usually from End of September through APril. We have lots of practice. You definitely touched all the must haves.

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