Wednesday, May 30, 2012

letting your child choose their own clothes

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it's not uncommon for me to go to the store with my son wearing one of his teenage sister's shirts over his own Lightning McQueen jeans, work boots, and a Barbie microphone {see above pic}. 
   

allowing your child to pick their own outfits allows them to express themselves and assert their independence.  being little in a big world doesn't give your child  a whole lot of control .  why not give them the opportunity to have an effect on their daily life?


letting them choose their own clothes shows them that you trust and respect their decisions, thus increasing their self-esteem.   


choosing their own clothes can give them a sense of accomplishment.  they've picked out their own clothes, which is a "job" that mom or dad normally does.  that's big stuff for a kiddo!  then to top it off, hearing compliments from others about what they've done just makes it all the better.


you can stop wasting money.  after your child has picked out their own outfits for awhile, you might be able to see a trend.  perhaps your little girl avoids wearing the color pink or your son only likes shorts/pants with pockets.  though this may seem like a silly quirk to you, it is indicative of your child's preferences and interests.  when it comes time to shop for clothes for them, you can eliminate buying those colors/styles/fabrics that they don't like, essentially saving you from buying something that won't be worn.

you can now pick your battles.  this doesn't mean letting your son wear your bra on his head to the store as his "space helmet".  if there are certain clothes that aren't up for grabs for daily wear, remove them from your child's reach or place them on a designated "special occasion" shelf.  if conflict does arise {say, over shorts in winter}, explain your reasons for prohibiting it clearly and find a compromise.  {perhaps leggings under the shorts}


a yellow shirt, brown shorts, green socks and rainboots will likely gain you more knowing smiles from other parents who have gone through this same phase with their own children than a disparaging look. 
 
 
 
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22 comments:

Amanda said...

My boys love wearing mummy and daddys clothes, never out the house but indoors they love dressing up.

They have never really put together an 'interesting' outfit, although Ethan does like to wear zip up hoodies with the hood covering his face and Ahren put most things on backward, all part of growing up, I've never really thought about the lessons they are learning by dressing themselves, thanks for posting this.

Tranae said...

lol @ bra on the head. My M.I.L. said my husband did that when he was little.

Gina said...

I bow down to you on this one, Andie! lol I never was able to pull this off.
I was always a clothing stickler and did all in my power to talk my kids out of wearing what they wanted. I know, I know, bad Mommy! lol I was fine with it around the house, but in public, my kids were perfectly dressed from head to toe. Of course, after all these years, I now see the ridiculousness in my ways.

Sheri said...

My kids never went too crazy on the mismatched clothes phase, but my middle son Andrew loved to wear his Dad's neck ties. More often than not, he would go to school with a cute pair of jeans or sweats, a little polo shirt or t-shirt, and a neck tie down to his knees. Adorable! Those were sweet times. :) I definitely agree that there are much bigger battles out there, and as long as the outfit isn't something that would make someone say something nasty to hurt the child's feelings, let them be. You need to save your strength for the important battles, like never being in a car without a seat belt on!!

Christy said...

I completely agree!! I have always let my kids dress themselves. My oldest needs more help than anyone...has not sence of anything. LOL My middle son is so PICKY what what he will and will not wear I don't dare even buy him clothes without him picking them out. And Riley....sigh....she is a fashionista for real! Just two weeks ago I let her wear hot pink dress up shoes to the baseball field to watch my husband play ball, he couldn't believe it and I totally said "Pick your battles". LOL

The Monko said...

Oddly this is one area where Goblin just doesn't seem to have an opinion. He has so much personality when it comes to other things but he really isn't interested when i offer a choice of T-shirt. The only time he expresses an opinion is when he just doesn't want to wear clothes at all. Which is usually fine with me too - unless its nursery day.

KraftinMommy said...

Oh the never-ending battle. My friends and I were just talking about this TODAY at work as she showed me pics of her little girl wearing purple cowgirl boots and pjs. I agree with you...let them be creative and take ownership for their outfits...might lead to them helping out with laundry lol!

All-American Vegetarian said...

Love this! So true about picking your battles. I make certain "deals" with my kids when it comes to clothing and what to wear in private and what we will wear in public. They are pretty good about it... especially since I have figured out what they gravitate towards. My daughter = dresses and skirts = very girly. My son = needs choices. Tonight I put out 5 different t's he could choose from for school tomorrow...and he made his decision quite easily.
My son has also been carrying around a pink curling iron toy (my daughter's) which he is using as a "blaster." (gun). Your son holding the Barbie microphone made me think of that :)
~Rebecca

Anonymous said...

Totally me. As much as I want to give them that "creative freedom"... the crontrol-freak in me takes ove. 'Boooo' for me. Maybe during the summer I'll let it go. ;)

Anonymous said...

Awesome! My parents practised this with me and it was very nice to know i had a voice, my toddler is only starting to choose his clothes, its cute and i cant wait to see him express himself through his outfit pick on any given day.

PlayDrMom said...

This is such a great post! Thanks for putting it out there! And for any one having trouble with the "control issue/what will everyone else think" thing ... check out this idea for those "I dressed myself" days ... http://blog.playdrhutch.com/2012/03/19/coping-with-your-childs-independence/

Jessica said...

haha don't worry, I'm sure the phrase "I have no sense of independence because my mom never let me wear my teenage sister's shirts" has most likely never been uttered ;)

Giving your kiddos a choice from two outfits lets them pick what to wear too and probably gives them just as much of a sense of independence.

Either way, it's a nice trick, but it's the sum of all your parenting parts, so don't feel bad if you bail on this one...

PlayDrMom said...

Also, thanks so much for sharing this post on this week's Kids Co-Op linky! ;0)

bethany (momma fox) said...

I LOVE this post! My son Finn (4.5) comes up with the most FANTASTIC outfits. I honestly can't wait to see what he comes up with each time. A few weeks ago we went to the park and he wore: A pink and brown plaid fedora, red zorro mask, one red fleece glove and one gardening glove, jeans, crocs and a puffy vest.

Danielle said...

Love it! My four year old always picks out her own clothes. She is very focused on "matching" so it is usually pink headband, pink shirt, pink skirt, pink socks, pink shoes. I don't have the heart to tell her that they are each a different shade. She thinks she looks great. I wish I could bottle up her confidence and save it for her when she gets to her teenage years!

The Iowa Farmer's Wife said...

Great post Andie! Does his shirt in the last pic say Boys have long hair too? Love it! This morning I went to get my daughter and she had one of her little brother's 3-6 mo outfits that she uses for a doll. It was hysterical! It looked like a midriff and capris. She really wanted to wear it...I ok'd the capris, but the top was a bit too revealing! Thanks for sharing!

Tara @ Tales of a Trophy Wife said...

My kids pretty much always dress themselves. Although, sometimes I give them perimeters to fit the occasion, like you can wear any shirt w/ a collar, or pants need to have a zipper (no athletic shorts).

Anonymous said...

this is so timely, we have been struggling with this in our house. my son is 5 and very opinionated about what he thinks looks "cool". unfortunately this usually means that it has some character or graphic on it. despite my general dislike of commercial images all over kid stuff, we do have some. it is a losing battle so i have capitulated and let him choose most days, though do have a rule that he can't take stuff out of the clothes hamper, and needs to be weather and occasion appropriate. he says things like "i don't have to always look nice" and "i don't care if it matches, i like it." and a word of caution: while it may be a kid's character or response to how much control they feel they have (or don't have), it is also very age-related. picking clothes didn't start getting hard til about 4.5 and intensified when he turned 5!

Carrie said...

So true!! My daughter and I pick her clothes together. I ask her what she wants to wear and then take it out of the drawer for her. She has trouble opening the drawers on her own still. Once we have a top we focus on a bottom unless of course it is a dress day (which there can be quite a few of). Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

angelique felix said...

WHAT a great post Andie!!!! Totally my style!

With love,
Angelique

Tiffany said...

This is so true! I have been letting my older daughter choose her clothes (both what to wear and what to purchase when shopping) since she wasn't quite two yet. She really enjoys it, and sometimes, her choices really generate some smiles. We have done tutus and rainboots (when there wasn't a drop of rain in site), shorts with leggings (like you said), and Halloween and play costumes are frequently worn all day.

I agree that it is an area where children can exert their control because as long as they have something on that's weather appropriate, that's all that should matter to parents.

cute and peculiar said...

Great tips! My son is just now starting to show interest in dressing himself and showing some preference in what he wears. I can feel that the shift to picking entire outfits will he here soon enough. Always a great reminder of instilling independence and picking your battles. Thank you!

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