Helping your young child dress appropriately

Children seem to have their own sense of fashion.  They are not privy to the world of matching colours and accessories, nor do they really seem to care. Children tend to want to express themselves in a way that may surprise or even embarrass their parents.

Children love to wear costumes.  Whether it be a fairy tale princess costume, or his favourite superhero costume, at one point they are going to want to wear it on a trip to the grocery store.  There is no harm in this practice and it may prevent a temper tantrum.  Ignore the looks you receive from others and know that you are encouraging your child to be an individual.  Wearing a costume to school, however, is not appropriate unless it is Halloween.  In an instance such as this, it is better to lay out your child’s clothes beforehand, preferably the night before. To allow your child a decision in the process, lay out two different outfits and let your child decide which one to wear.

Another solution is to lay out coordinating pieces and allow your child to mix and match as they see fit.  As long as the items are coordinated, your child will not only feel like they made the decision, but succeeded and made you proud as well.

As children get older, they tend to mimic celebrities that they are drawn to.  If the celebrity dresses in a provocative way, your child may want to dress similarly.  Unfortunately, the only way to handle this is to explain that the attire is inappropriate for their  age and that they will be able to choose how they want to dress when they are older.  Celebrities seem to sometimes have more influence on children than parents do, so be firm in your answer and eventually, the desire to mimic the provocative clothing will fade.

To help children understand which clothing is appropriate for a certain event, lay out the clothing and explain each article. For example, suits and fancy dresses will be worn at weddings or on special holidays where dressing up is a tradition.  Jeans or shorts can be worn at any time except if a private school has a dress code.  Following through on this task will help your child develop awareness of how to dress for specific times.  Eventually, you will reach a point where you go to help your child get dressed and they have already completed the task – successfully, too!

Teaching your child to dress appropriately begins at home.  With a firm guidance on what is acceptable attire, most children should be able to dress themselves for almost any occasion.  The exception, of course, is Halloween when anything within reason, goes.  If you find yourself exasperated over your child’s stubborness about wearing a costume to the supermarket, consider letting them.  Sometimes, we have to in order to save our sanity and promote our child’s individuality.  Applying a bit of ‘give and take’ is something we all need to practice on occassions.  The important thing is to keep them onside.  If you push your child too hard they will likely rebel.  Having fun together, such as enjoying family day’s out can help maintain a strong bond with your child and keep conflicts at bay.

 

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