Creative Child

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

by Amanda Light


Highlight the Fun

Just because we want them to make more functional clothing choices doesn’t mean that we have to take the fun right out of it. We want them to know that fashion can be a great way to express ourselves and present a positive image. Sometimes, we have to pay attention to what our kids like and what they are drawn to so that we can encourage them when the time comes. Does your child love music? Then those rock n’ roll, light-up sneakers are a great way to compromise between the fun-loving nature of a kid and the easy-to-put-on functionality needed for the parent.

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Dress like Mom or Dad

As with many things in parenting, our kids look up to us. They want to learn from us, be like us, act like us. They’re like little sponges, right? Encourage growth in choosing their own clothes by comparing the process to Mom’s and Dad’s: “Do you like this dress that Mom has chosen to wear today? You have one almost like it—would you like to wear that to school?” Odds are good that if you have these conversations a few times, the kids will start to take the reins and gravitate to these choices naturally. They emulate us in our best and worst moments, even when it comes to the small stuff, like choosing a sweatshirt like Dad’s.


If this doesn’t immediately catch on, start by roleplaying in a relaxed environment. Spend a weekend afternoon playing dress up. Start by gathering an array of different clothes—some for you, some for the kids—such as dresses, fun shirts and pants, and costumes. (Head to a thrift store or look to online consignment shops like thredUP to find budget-friendly pieces.) Set up a “wardrobe” with all the options, then propose an imaginary situation— “Mom is heading to work. What should she wear?”—and have the kids pick out an outfit. When they reach for the Hawaiian shirt or sparkly cocktail dress, explain why that choice wouldn’t be appropriate. This keeps the learning experience light and fun, rather than rushed and stressful.

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There is no perfect process to anything when it comes to parenting. A lot of us are learning as we go. As you teach your kids positive lessons about choosing their clothes, don’t forget to balance fun and functionality.


Amanda Light is a mom of two who knows only too well the challenges of having kids. She is constantly trying new things change the behaviors and make things easier. In her limited spare time, she writes for her blog Prim and Propah, and for, an online/offline consignment store where you can find a broad selection of women’s dresses here.

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