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To think that British people need to get better at winter?

(279 Posts)
honeytea Sat 01-Dec-12 16:40:01

I have noticed lots of people worrying about the cold weather and their DC coming to harm due to eating/sleeping/playing outside.

I am confused as to why in a country that we all know has miserable weather for much most of the year some children don't have clothing that enables them to spend time outside. The risk of vitamin D deficiency, the higher chance of getting ill when inside and childhood weight issues could all be made better if kids were encouraged to spend more time outside.

I know it isn't all families, I have just been supprised at the amount of people worrying about thier children being damaged by winter weather. It doesn't even get very cold in the UK, nothing a pair of breathable woolen thermal underwear and a good coat/all in one wouldn't solve.

I am British but I now live in Sweden, here the kids at daycare/school have to spend at least 2 hours outside by law, it doesn't matter if it is raining, snowing or -10 the kids are still out playing/eating/sleeping. The schools only shut due to weather when the temp drops below -40.

AIBU to think that we need to get better at winter, it does after all happen every year for about 6 months

surroundedbyblondes Sat 01-Dec-12 19:28:12

We're in Sweden and we keep the house warm. It's not huge, but not tiny either! We have the heating on all the time so it's a constant heat. And yes, it's recycled heat from local industry, making it cheaper and greener. Being able to come into a earm house makes the outdoor cold much more bearable.
We soend a fortune getting the DCs kitted out for winter each year. Not just the snowsuit & thermals but things like a good scarf, gloves, hat etc make the difference. And it's a huge faff getting them dressed to go out, and keeping track of all the clothes that they need at preschool, plus replacing inevetsble lost items. But it's something that you have to do.
Our youngest slept outdoors in all weathers (though she had an overall AND an åkpåse honeytea, I think you will need both for babies when it's cold) and had a lovely snuggly sheepskin in her buggy to keep her warm.
Right now we have snow on thd ground outdoors and a fire going in the fireplace. The christmas lights are lit and the whole neighbourhood looks lovely. Winter can be something to be enjoyed.

Meglet Sat 01-Dec-12 19:31:46

Sadly, I don't live in a sprawling UK home. At least it's cheap(ish) to heat my shoebox.

The winter clothes do take up a bit of space actually, space we don't have. But I tolerate it for the sake of knowing the dc's will be cosy from Nov - Feb.

Mind you, everyone stocks up on flip-flops and summer clothes which we need for precisely 2 days a year hmm. Winter clothes might be more expensive but a better long term investment and probably cheaper 'cost-per-wear' than a summer dress.

bondigidum Sat 01-Dec-12 19:33:25

Oh I totally agree.

I love winter. Its my favourite season, I just love the cold. My gran always tells me how I musn't take my DC out when the weather is anything under 10 degrees.. Why? What will happen, will they melt? I hate cotton wool wrapping. I'll happily take my DC out in - temps! The cold is great, much better than sticky uncomfortable heat. I'd take British weather over hot weather any day.

honeytea Sat 01-Dec-12 19:40:15

surroundedbyblondes it's good to hear you put both on your baby, I think they look cold in just the åkpåse and my DP's family tell me I must use either an åkpåse or a overall.

I think the good thing about winter clothes is that you can get more than a years wear out of all items except for boots, it's not a problem to have things a little loose for a year.

I think maybe the house size is just my experience bassed on my family in the uk and my DP's family in Sweden, it may be more of a difference between our families rather than a cultural difference.

surroundedbyblondes Sat 01-Dec-12 19:51:57

Yep, DD2 had overall, hat, gloves, fuskpolo, sheepskin and åkpåse when it was really cold last last winter when she was 1. Remember they're not moving, just sitting still. Plus you can't do the åkpåse up tightly enough to prevent cold air coming in round the top.
Going by some of the things you've said about your in-laws previously, I'd take their advice with a pinch of salt!

Iggly Sat 01-Dec-12 19:54:02

Can I ask a question:

My DS gets cold legs when out walking around town or to preschool (he's 3). Putting him in thermals seems a bit much because he'll get too hot when at preschool or in a shop. What do you do?

honeytea Sat 01-Dec-12 19:54:48

I think a pinch of salt is a good idea smile They come from the very north of Sweden so they think -5 in Stockholm is verging on tropical!

Acekicker Sat 01-Dec-12 20:05:56

Another one agreeing the damp and wind doesn't help in the UK. I lived in the South of Germany and it didn't get above freezing for weeks and would hit -17 or so on the cold nights...but when it wasn't snowing it was crisp and clear and gorgeous. You wrapped up well and I used to walk everywhere. My German winter coat and boots wore out a few years ago and I bought replacements which I thought would be just as good on the High Street here... they weren't and this winter I have splashed out on Sorel boots and a Canadian down jacket, I'm now back to being toasty warm. Oh and mittens...always wear mittens they are much warmer than gloves.

The UK irritates me the way people take no responsibility for clearing paths etc. I left for work at 6.50 in the morning in Germany and everyone would have already cleared, or be finishing clearing their paths by then. When it snows here DH and I clear approx 100m of path, basically the side path and then in form of our terrace of 4 houses (all other ones have elderly neighbours so we do their bit too). We then salt them and they stay beautifully clear and safe, for the last 3 years we have been the only people in our area to do this, therefore when you walk the next half mile into town it is a deadly skating rink after the first day as the snow compacts and refreezes....although we also have boot crampons so don't slither as much as everyone else!

honeytea Sat 01-Dec-12 20:07:19

The 3 year old I work with (pick them up from school and take them home for english lessons) just wear the thermal leggings at school and then their overall over to go home.

My dp hangs out at home with his family and friends in just thermal underwear I find it a little odd as it's tight, I don't want to see my BIl in tight thermal underwear!

butterfingerz Sat 01-Dec-12 20:38:53

Oh giveover, it is literally tropical over here compared to Sweden or the like, what a daft comparison. It's only just started to dip below freezing at night. This is a MILD country, we're experts in grey cloud and drizzle not snow. Even on the rare occasions we get inches of snow, people don't sweat and toil shovelling out their drive because they know it'll be wet sludge within a couple of hours and they like the novelty of stepping out of their door and being knee deep in snow. That's all it is, a novelty.

honeytea Sat 01-Dec-12 20:46:01

But the british are not even good at drizzle and rain. A Swedish friend who lived in London for 10 years told me about a discussion she had with her children's teacher about the concept of wet play, she said "but it rains most of the time if the kids don't go outside when it is wet they will rarely go out!"

germyrabbit Sat 01-Dec-12 20:53:42

sorry i just don't see it, i have worked with kids outside and they come out even in the rain! it's very easy to make sweeping generalisations and kind of offensive (mildly) to lump all people in as 'the british' or whatever.

GhostShip Sat 01-Dec-12 20:55:55


although I'm trying to cope. One of my jobs is in a warehouse using a PC, it's freezing. In winter I will be able to see my breath. My fingers are so cold I can't type. We've had to get rid of our little heaters because apparently they're a fire hazard, which was our only saving grace.

We all know its against health and safety laws - but it's just bringing it up to the employer without alienating ourselves sad

funkybuddah Sat 01-Dec-12 21:02:08

My friends and I get questioned by other mums because in the winter if it is dry and the kids are happy, we can be found sat in the park once the sun has gone down..always home by 5pm but the park is small and has 3 (white) streetlights lighting it (so people cant lurk as it has a path running through it)

The fact is the kids are happy and always nicer if they have played outside together for a bit. They are wrapped up warm, we get a gossip I dont know why we are viewed as such freaks.

We even had a flask of hot chocolate last year lol

Its almost like as soon as its below 10 degrees the kids mustnt play out incase they get sick, which is the biggest pile of bullcrap ever.

honeytea Sat 01-Dec-12 21:02:51

germy I didn't mean to offend. Maybe some of the kids you work with have parents posting AIBU to be angry that my DC was allowed to play outside in rain/wind/cold.

Ghostship you can get lovely reuable hand/foot warmers, that might keep you a little bit cosy and warm at work smile

honeytea Sat 01-Dec-12 21:05:08

Funky they are probably just envious of your hot chocolate envy

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 01-Dec-12 21:06:54

It's because our shops don't sell warm coats and clothing.

I went to work one day on the tube in ski gear, but the bottoms were too long as they took account of ski boots.

That was probably the on,y winters day I have been warm.

MrsMerryMeeple Sat 01-Dec-12 21:29:25

I was sitting here, reading this thread, feeling snug about sitting in my lovely warm Stockholm apartment, but I have to say that those talking about the UK's total inability to deal with cold weather conditions are not the only ones making broad sweeping generalisations.

There are quite a lot of elderly people in Sweden living in the same house they've been in for a large part of their life, even if it is too big and quite impractical for them. I think this is more a generational issue, not a which-country-do-you-live-in issue.

And Sweden is not so good at dealing with the weather conditions that only come up every 10-20 years or so either. Anyone tried taking a train in this country a couple of winters ago??

Yes, most Swedes are much better at dressing for the cold, but it's much colder for much longer every year here.

But if someone can explain to me why british houses don't have decent insulation, so they could be heated in their chilly damp cold without it costing a fortune, I'd love to hear the explanation!!

honeytea and surroundedbyblondes on the overall med eller utan åkpåse question, it must depend on the overall and the åkpåse! A fleece overall, which is what most under 1s wear, and a standard padded åkpåse must be fine. But a full-on snow suit and a super thick winter åkpåse would be too much. If your inlaws are from up north, they probably think snowsuit when you say overall.

moonstorm Sat 01-Dec-12 21:35:32


And on the subject (sort of), we should also have WINTER TYRES!

germyrabbit Sat 01-Dec-12 21:44:41

i do agree with getting winter tyres!

GhostShip Sat 01-Dec-12 21:45:25

Honeytea - ahhhh good suggestion! I'm going to look on ebay now grin thanks

cantspel Sat 01-Dec-12 21:57:01

Old english houses dont have modern insulation as they were built before building regs demanded it and many before it even existed.

There is nothing to stop you from fitting it yourself apart from the money it cost to do so. I have just had 3 bedrooms stripped back and rebuilt with modern insulation as my house is chalet style and the upstairs was freezing with no insulation at all around the rooms. Messy job but hopefully long term savings on heating to recoup the not inconsiderable cost of having the work done in the first place.

BarbecuedBillygoats Sat 01-Dec-12 21:57:29

Interestingly I haven't yet met a non driver who doesn't dress appropriately for the weather.
I wonder if when getting into nice warm cars drivers forget that it'll be freezing the other end

My main problem at the moment is I get too hot. I dress up warm, go for a bracing walk and end up far too hot.

honeytea Sat 01-Dec-12 21:59:25

mrsmerry Thank you for your åkpåse advice smile

I think my opinion of the house/apartment situation was skewed by the limited people I know in Sweden and also the area we live in, The older people I know live in apartments but they have some of the old family homes up in the north as holiday homes, but I guess if they had not moved to Stockholm it is likely they would live in the same houses they now have as summer homes.

I think it is sweet in Sweden when they announce a delayed train, they will say a very specific reason and then say the train will be 2 mins late, in the UK I have been sat at a station for half an hour and then they come and announce that the train has been cancelled. I have lived here for 3 winters and never had a train cancelled but I may well have been lucky.

MrsMerryMeeple Sat 01-Dec-12 22:07:10

Gosh honeytea I'm no expert either! Just saying what makes sense to me! I'm sure I layer DS up far too much, being a paranoid immigrant from somewhere warmer, but that's what I've concluded in my short history of mamma-hood in Sweden.

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