Wednesday, October 27

Dressing up your child for European Winters

Oh, the dark and gloomy days are already around the corner, the temperatures are dropping down to near zero and the heaters at home are switched on. All you want is to be warm and cozy and the same applies to your child too. Cozy baby = happy baby = relaxed parent!

If you are worried and wondering if you have dressed your child appropriately for the winters, worry no more! We have got you totally covered. Here is the perfect guide for dressing up your child in Winter. You just need to keep in mind, one simple rule….LAYERS !

Why layer up?

It is any day better to use layers than one single thick pullover. Layering enables heat to get trapped between them, thereby making it more effective to keep your child warm. Moreover, any time the temperatures rise or your child gets too hot, you can easily pull off a layer. So let’s start with….

The Base Layer

Onesie (Body): A Onesie is a short or long-sleeved bodysuit that buttons up at the crotch and is mostly worn by toddlers till around the age of 2. These are worn all throughout the year, but for obvious reasons, choose the long-sleeved onesies for autumn/winters. For older kids, you can go for simple T-shirts.

Tights (Strumpfhosen): Another base piece of clothing worn by both boys and girls, Tights come in varied thicknesses and can be worn from autumn to spring. For infants taking their first steps, opt for the ones that have stoppers, which will help against slipping. You can also opt for leggings or long johns, but I think, thermal tights do the work better. Just like the onesie, tights are snug against the body and doesn’t restrict movement. This ensures that your child can play freely and comfortably.

The Second Layer

Sweaters/ Pullovers: Choose warm sweaters made of wool or pullovers with a fleece lining. Depending on your child, feel free to add in another shirt under this layer.

Pants/ Jeans (Jogginghosen): I always choose Joggers or Sweatpants for my child, since it helps with better movement. With a layer underneath, Jeans can be quite stiff and uncomfortable during play. Also, Joggers mostly have a thin fleece lining that accounts for additional warmth.

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The Outermost Layer

Jackets/ Coats: Always pick jackets that are water and wind resistant. During the Autumn, you may opt for Softshell jackets, which are light-weight, but wind and water resistant. They sometimes have a thin fleece lining too. But stepping into the winters, definitely calls for thick, warm, fleeced jackets or coats. Another thing to look out for are jackets with reflectors. As you know, cycling is predominant in Europe, and reflectors help warn cyclists of people presence during dark hours.

Snowsuit (Schneeanzug): For infants, you may choose a full suit (Anzug), which is a one piece overall. They come with expandable mittens and boot coverings which help further in staying warm. I chose this for my child, since there won’t be any question of the jacket pulling up or a glove dropping and exposing your baby to the chilly winds. However, for older kids, a 2-piece suit is more practical. It allows you to use only the jacket while skipping the pants, on really cold but not freezing days. The snowsuits are mostly insulated and wind and water proof.

Another option to consider for rainy but not cold days are Rain pants (Matschhosen or Regenhosen). They can be lined to offer further insulation. Along with this comes the Rain jacket (Regenjacket), again may or may not be insulated and mostly used for the rain. These are used in the spring / autumn when the temperatures are not very low. So even though you can’t really use rain pants in winter, I thought it would be nice to just mention it here, as a pointer for the spring that follows the winter.


Hats (Hüte): Use woolen hats that can ideally be tied or buttoned-up below the chin. A balaclava or monkey cap, as we call it in India, is the best option. Aviator caps also cover the ears very well and do the trick.

Gloves/Mittens (Handschuhe): A must wear item of clothing but one that never stays on! Again, depending on temperatures, you can opt for just plain woolen ones or wind resistant ones (similar in material to the softshell jackets). You also get gloves with connecting strings that help keep them together.

Scarfs (Schals): Another item on the list are scarves. And just like the hats and gloves, are something that most kids hate. I would recommend the infinity scarf or loop scarf. Easier to put on and removes the worry of “Oh, what if my child pulls one end of the scarf , thereby tightening it around the neck?”.

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Footwear: For the winters, invest in good boots that are thick and wind-proof, not like sneakers, which easily allow air to pass through. Of course, let them be lined to ensure those tiny toes stay warm. Boot lengths can vary, but be sure to pick something that your child can run about in. Remember that your child already has tights on, so you can skip the socks during not-so-cold days. Opt for thicker socks during peak winters. You can also layer up 2 thin socks for insulation.

Rains are common in the winter months too. Jumping up and down in muddy puddles calls for snow-boots (Winterstiefel) which are warmer, lined boots in comparison to the rain boots (Regenstiefel) – unlined boots used in spring/autumn. If your child is already in KiTa, you are well aware of Slippers (Hausschuhe), that are also a must-have.

A few more pointers…..

  • Go for easy to remove clothing that makes nappy changes or sleep time easier.
  • Look for details like reflectors or detachable hoods when picking up outdoor jackets.
  • Always choose soft linings that will be gentle against your baby’s delicate skin.
  • Don’t forget to apply a wind cream before stepping out of the house.
  • If you are taking your baby out in a stroller/ bicycle trailer, use a blanket to beat the extra chilly breeze.

The struggle I have, to keep all these layers in place, on my 2 year old is never ending. Nevertheless, I do hope that you have better luck than me 😉

PS: I live in Germany, and hence have jotted down the German terms for the clothing alongside in brackets. Hopefully it will help our readers in Germany.

It is a very common practice in Germany to buy kids stuff second hand. However, if you prefer to buy them new, check out our article on the Top 7 places where you can buy kids clothes for cheap. Follow us on Facebook for more such interesting reads.