Should your kid be wearing designer clothes?
A study conducted in the US showed that many kids between the ages 3 and 6 are not getting enough physical outdoor exercise because of the clothes that they wear to school. The study which was reported in BioMed Central’s open access journal, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, also revealed that some kids who are inappropriately dressed prevent other kids in class from playing.
Researchers said some kids go to school wearing outfits that are very nice and expensive. Kids didn’t want to play or do activities for fear of getting their clothes dirty. Teachers were reluctant to let them play because they were afraid of having parents, especially mothers, screaming at them for ruining their kids’ expensive clothes. “We sometimes have children who when they go outside they will sit on the bench and when you ask them why they’re sitting there, they say, ‘My mommy said I couldn’t get dirty.”‘
Improperly fitting clothes that are too loose or too tight also impede kids. Loose fitting clothing can get caught in equipment, or fall off, while tight clothes (e.g., skirts) can restrict ability to run. “A skirt and long dresses they wear when they’re climbing, they’re taking a step and their foot gets caught. It’s really dangerous.”
Teachers share that flip flops are another no-no as they do not protect feet from mulch/rocks, do not support feet well when climbing and fall off easily. “We like them to wear gym shoes because of the activity level, you know, playing and stuff. Even in the summer, we ask them, ‘Don’t wear sandals and flip flops and stuff cuz they come off their feet and they’re just not very safe’.”
Jewelry was another pet peeve for teachers. “[We say] ‘Please, do not send your child here with $300 chain on his neck he’s 3, 4, 5!’ You know, I said I am not gonna be responsible for keeping up their jewelry. Most of them [parents] listen and say ‘OK, we won’t,’ but, why would you send your child to preschool with a $500 chain on?! I don’t understand that!”
It is interesting to see that something as simple as clothes can hamper kids from getting the exercise that they really need to keep them healthy. But what are parents thinking when they send their kids to school wearing clothes that too nice to be dirtied? Don’t they know that mess and dirt is part of what makes school really fun and exciting?