How to dress children for exercise in Winter

It seems really obvious right – put on a jumper!  But knowing how to dress properly in winter is a bit of an art and can make a difference to children when participating in physical activities.

As an Aussie dancer, it wasn’t until I spent my first winter in the UK that I discovered the skill of layering clothing so you can quickly adjust to the varying temperatures when you are out and about in a cold climate country.  I have since been sharing this concept to all the dance students at my dance school how layers are really important when training in winter, not just in dance but any physical activity. 

Here are three key points for dressing your child for physical activity in winter:


Your child’s sport or activity may have a compulsory year round uniform whether ballet leotard, soccer jersey or netball dress so ensure this is the base.  On cold days or evenings, children will warm up and even get hot when exercising.  Good activity organizers will factor in a solid set of warm-up exercises to prepare kids for their game or activity so overdressing them can cause it’s own difficulties.  Overheating in children will cause them to fatigue more quickly and participate less.  Performing a Grande Jette in a bulky parker is near impossible!

Adding a long but light layer of clothing on top of your child’s basic kit is going to help in a few ways.  Initially, it will simply keep children warm and then as they start moving these layers can be easily removed.  Layers that a child can remove on their own are best.  The tie-up wrap ballet tops are impossible for children to remove themselves so look for the pull over ones.  Light layers are ideal because they keep muscles warm without overheating children and prevent injury.


Never underestimate a good warm jacket, parker or coat that is quick to put on and off.  If your child arrives to their activity already warm you will be helping them to adjust to the demands of a physical activity more quickly.  Your child will be hot and potentially reluctant to put a jacket on after an exciting game of soccer or winning a tennis game however the body does cool down quickly after exercise so keeping warm will help to prevent muscle soreness the day after.

After a long hot summer it can be a shock for Australian kids when winter hits.  While our children are lucky that we don’t experience excessive snow fall across the country unlike some of our northern hemisphere friends, it is still important to remain active during winter time and leave hibernation to the bears!

Natasha Swan is Co-founder and Director of Momentum Dance Studios Pty Ltd located in Sydney.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Dance) and Bachelor of Education (Dance & Theatre) from the University of New South Wales. 

Natasha is also a volunteer member of ADESA – the Australia Dance Education Standards Association who have created an awareness campaign for Child Safety in Australian Dance Schools. 

For more information please visit: www.momentumdancestudios.com.au

Author: Laurice Klaire

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