Creative Child

Is It Time to Let Your Kid Decide What to Wear?

by Amanda Light

As our children grow up, both in size and in maturity, it’s up to us to teach them how to take on responsibility while also encouraging them to embrace their creative side. No parent wants to squash the lively spirit of their little one, but we also don’t want to take them out dressed like a dinosaur every single day. Navigating parenthood can be a challenge, but helping our children make good choices about dressing shouldn’t be. Use these tips to help your children make fashion choices that bring happiness and growth to both your lives.

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Have a Positive Attitude

This is important advice. When their little lives are changing and they don’t seem to have control over most situations, an encouraging energy makes all the difference. As with most things, our kids can sense our feelings and are quite intuitive to their surroundings. If they see that getting dressed causes stress, worry or frustration, they can often return those feelings in the process. Always be patient, have fun and enjoy the ride!


Communicate in Different Ways

Some of the most successful lessons are taught through not just our words but also our actions. As we know all too well, children are listening even when we think that they aren’t. When we are looking to our children to make mindful choices, in this case in regard to their wardrobe, we must show them that we do the same thing.


For example, in the colder weather, explain that Mom has to wear her pom-pom hat to keep her warm. Pose the question: “Does your pirate hat keep your head warm like this?” Then offer a solution: “Let’s make a different decision so our ears don’t get cold!” Explain that there’s a time and a place for dress-up clothes. We want our kids to be able to differentiate between these situations and empower them to make the best choices.

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Match the Clothing to the Occasion

The next time you have a special event to go to, make your kiddos a part of the dressing process. If you’re heading to a wedding or formal party, show them the dress you bought for the occasion (or even allow them to help you pick one out!) and explain to them why you chose it. Illustrate why a fancy dress is important for a fancy occasion and how it might be impractical to wear it in an everyday situation. This will help them learn to associate formal clothes with special occasions, making them less likely to reach for that princess dress on a school day.


Plan a Shopping Trip

Let kids be a part of choosing clothing—right from the start, if possible. Plan a fun shopping trip, maybe when they’re between sizes, and let them try out the decision-making process. Being a kid doesn’t come with a lot of control, but this is one of the areas where we can give them that freedom (within reason, of course). If your child is in need of new pants or underwear, make sure to talk about that being the reason for the trip. Give them guidance so that once you’re there, they know what to look for and will be more likely to help make the right decisions. You may have to say no to a Halloween costume along the way, but you’ll be creating a learning experience that they’ll hopefully take into future trips to the store.


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