Whether you have a toddler who refuses to get dressed, a preschooler who insists on wearing the same seasonally-inappropriate outfit each and every day, or a grade-schooler who’s set on dressing like a teenage pop star, you are undoubtedly all too familiar with the frustration of battling with your child over what he or she will wear.
You can take a bit of comfort in knowing that you are certainly not alone! Experts say most kids put up a fight over what they’ll wear, as it’s simply one of the best ways they have of asserting their independence. So how do you get them out of the house without embarrassing at least one of you?
Here are 10 Tried-and-True Tips for Winning the Wardrobe Battle:
- Determine where you stand in letting your kids choose their clothes. Which camp are you in? Is clean and decent simply good enough or do you have a certain standard that you are not willing to compromise?
- Find a way to give your child some power over the situation. The best way to do this is to provide choices. The options you give set parameters for what you’ll allow, but giving your child a choice gives him a sense of control and also helps him to learn how to make decisions.
- Toddlers don’t like transitions. Make it easier by giving them a warning when it’s almost time to get dressed. You can also validate their desire to stay in their PJs with something like, “I know, those jammies are so comfy. We’ll get them back on tonight.”
- It’s more difficult to win a battle when you are rushed. Make sure everyone has plenty of time to get dressed in the morning. If you have a child who’s likely to put up a fuss, set the alarm a good 30 minutes early. You’ll be able to remain calm, and keep outbursts at bay.
- While you’d love for your child to look like the kids you see in catalogs, take comfort in knowing that letting her decide what to wear builds confidence and helps to instill a sense of personal responsibility.
- Don’t cave in to a begging child and buy an article of clothing that makes you cringe just so you can get out of the store. We guarantee your child will plead to wear that (neon pink t-shirt with giant Disney princesses) each and every day.
- Choose your battles. It won’t be long before your child outgrows her dying desire to wear a ballet leotard or an old Halloween costume to school. Sometimes it’s good enough if she’s simply adequately clothed for the weather – no bare legs in the winter or parkas in July.
- Understand that your child’s clothing choices are not a reflection of your parenting skills. Other adults won’t assume you’ve chosen to pair plaid and polka dots for your child. They’ll assume you’ve given your child some creative control, and decided to focus your energies on something you deem more important.
- Take the time to choose an outfit you both agree on before bedtime, rather than five minutes before morning carpool.
- Communicate the rules and stick to them! Consistency is key.
It’s helpful and effective to have anyone who cares for your child on-board with your guidelines of what’s acceptable clothing, so whatever you decide to do, be sure to communicate with your babysitter or nanny and ask that she back you up!