As I am sitting knitting with some beautiful baby alpaca yarn I can’t help but think about the importance of warmth. As the days get colder and we wear our heavier coats, what does warmth have to do with health? When Logan was a baby a wise friend and teacher told me about how important it was to keep him warm. Since he was born in September I knew that I needed to layer him, but what I didn’t realize was how important it was as he got older, as well. When we are physically warm and comfortable we don’t need to expend energy. What that means is that we don’t need to shiver or shake to physically warm up. It also means that we have that energy available for other things. Being cold decreases our immunity. Our body has less resources to fight off the germs and viruses in the current environment. Going out in the cold with wet hair will not necessarily make you sick but it will take some extra energy to keep you warm – extra energy that could be used to support your immune system.
So this winter layer up when you are outside. Both my kids have wool long underwear which is amazing for keeping them warm. It doesn’t get clammy like cotton when they sweat and you don’t need to wash it all the time like polyester.
Young children are not great judges of whether they are warm or not. Susan Johnson, a pediatrician in the US gives this insight.
So why do children rarely complain that they are cold? Children often are not connected with their body before the age of 7 to even acknowledge or communicate that they are cold. They live in the moment and are so excited and stimulated by all that they see that they don’t have the capacity to sense the coldness of their body. This is why children often will play in a swimming pool or ocean until they are literally “blue” denying that they are cold or that they need to come out of the water. So as parents, we have to help our children develop their sense of warmth. By helping them develop this sense of warmth, we are actually strengthening their immunity and laying the foundation for a healthy body and healthy organs in their adult life.
So help yourself and your family this winter and dress appropriately for the weather. It can help keep you healthy. Children may not always want to wear the “right stuff” but you can. Be a role model and show them how great it is for you. Enjoy the winter!