Well the cold weather has set in and until now, my children have been trying to get away with wearing their shorts and t-shirts out of the house. Yes, that’s right- shorts and t-shirts! It seems in their nature to wear as little as possible at all times. I shiver just looking at them. In our household, it’s a 10 minute battle every morning just to get them to carry their jackets or raincoats to school “just in case” they should need them later in the day. Does this sound familiar or am I on my own here? The coat issue has plagued us since the toddler days and continues 5 years later. I remember having a grade 4 teacher who used to say “you don’t catch a cold by being cold”. Well we’ve learned that that isn’t quite the case. Being cold lowers our immunity and makes us more susceptible to catching viruses. Although the little ones never seem to be cold, the weather is undeniably frosty and the cold & flu season is about to ramp up. So what is a parent to do to protect these strong willed children who don’t want to dress for the weather?

Every year people ask me if I’m going to give the kids the flu shot and every year I face the same dilemma. In the end, I tend to forego the shot and opt for fanatacism in hand washing. Hand washing with an all-natural, regular soap and warm water is the number one way to prevent sickness. Soaps with toxic antibacterial chemicals are not necessary to eliminate germs and may in fact have even more hazardous, long-term effects on wellness.

Some other things to keep in mind this cold & flu season to keep the whole family healthy is to be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables for the added vitamins and an extra immunity boost. We get the juicer out and make colourful concoctions my kids refer to as “super juice” as well as blended fruit smoothies. Unfortunately, my children think they don’t like vegetables. Thankfully, my kids love soup so I jam all sorts of great veggies, whatever I have on hand, into homemade soups which I blend up into a power packed puree and no one is the wiser!

Lastly, a good night sleep is a good way to help the body fight infections and to keep the immune system strong. I know, a good night’s sleep is easier said than done and is one of the great mysteries of parenthood. I suppose that’s another topic of discussion.

Here are some other great tips for enjoying winter weather:

Dress your child in layers with one or more layers than you would wear yourself. You can get some great long underwear at your local outdoors store at a reasonable price. Long sleeved shirts, sweaters and then coats. Waterproof outer layers are best for the wet, west coast weather.

Hats are a must, particularly ones that cover the ears. Kids tend to like the soft, fleece- lined varieties- so many fun styles to choose from. I’ve never been successful getting my children to wear scarves and they are probably a choking hazard, so instead choose winter coats with high necks.

Warm, waterproof winter boots that have a little extra room so that they are comfortable to run around in and still offer a bit of air circulation.

Here's a gem I wish I'd thought about sooner...carry extra pairs of mittens in case theirs get wet and switch them out to make outside play last a bit longer and a lot more enjoyable.

Have fun out there!