This section is from the "The Young Mother. Management of Children in Regard to Health" book, by William A. Alcott. Also available from Amazon: The Young Mother
Did they sleep in a cold or warm room?
"In a warm room. A good fire was always made in the stove before they went to bed, which kept them quite warm all night."
Would they never complain of being cold towards morning, when the stove had become cold?
"Yes, certainly; but then there were always at hand additional bed-clothes, with which they could cover themselves."
And did they always do it?
"Oh, I suppose so."
Well, madam, how did you carry your second plan into execution, which you say was attended with such happy results?
"I began by not letting them put on their great coats, except when the weather was so cold as to require this additional covering, and did not permit them to wear a 'comfortable' or fur round their necks. I took away their over-shoes, and if their feet chanced to get wet, (for they were always provided with good sound shoes,) the shoes were immediately changed, if they were at home. If the weather was wet, or unusually cold, they were permitted to wear their great coats, but not without. If they came home very cold, they were not allowed to approach the fire too soon. I gave them no warm, heating drinks, and accustomed them to sleep in rooms without fire."
Who does not recognize, in this second plan for the enjoyment of air and exercise, as judicious a plan of physical education, so far as it goes, as can well be pointed out? We were so successful as to convince this lady, in a very short time, that our own plan of exposing the body was precisely the one she had pursued with so much success.
We also inquired of her what plan she pursued with her children, when too young to be submitted to the rules just mentioned. She informed us that it was the same system throughout, only the details varied as circumstances of age, &c. made it necessary. That is, she sent her children into the open air at very early periods of their lives, provided in summer it was neither too wet nor too warm; in winter, when the air was mild, dry and clear—but always carefully wrapped up, that their little extremities might not suffer from cold. She never suffered them to sleep in the open air, if it could be avoided; to prevent which, as much as possible, she constantly charged the nurse to bring the children home, as soon as she found them disposed to sleep, unless it was when they were very young, at which time it was impossible to guard against it.
And when her children were sufficiently old to walk, she took care to prepare them properly for it, whether it might be in warm, cold, or moderate weather. She never sent them abroad for pleasure at the risk of encountering a storm of any kind; nor permitted them to walk at the hazard of getting wet or very muddy feet.
Were the constitutions of your children pretty much the same? we demanded of this lady.
"No; one of my boys was extremely feeble, from his very birth."
Did you treat him precisely as you did the others?
"Yes, as far as regarded principles; that is, I permitted him to bear as much of cold, heat or wet as his constitution would endure without pain or injury. The degrees, however, were very different from those his brothers bore, had they been determined by the measurement of the thermometer, but precisely the same in effect, as far as could be ascertained by consequences. Thus, if he were exposed to the same temperature as his brothers, he experienced no more inconvenience from it, when it was very low, than they, because he had additional covering to protect him."