When your child turns 3 or 4, it’s normal for them to start questioning your judgment. Most of the time, of course, you should have the last word, but when it comes to clothes, we can afford to give our kids a little leeway.
“This is the age when children start stretching their wings and look for a little control over their lives,” parenting coach Lisa Bunnage tells Today’s Parent. “But this really is the ‘small stuff’ when you look at the big picture of parenting. I don’t think what kids wear is ever in the ‘big stuff’ department, unless they want to go skiing in a bathing suit.”
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Just like you have your own tastes when it comes to clothes, your child also has his own likes and dislikes. Listen to what they like and try to accommodate them.
Letting your kids choose what they want to wear will likely have them dressing in the strangest things. We’re talking tutus, tiaras, dinosaur suits, the works. But don’t worry—this is usually temporary. By the time your child enters first grade, she will be faced with more peer pressure to fit in and dress like her peers. You should enjoy these brief years of unabashed self-expression.
As they dress themselves, they’ll develop their own tastes. You might not like it, but remember that your own parents probably had a few things to say about your own wardrobe choices as well!
It could be as simple as asking your child if they’d prefer the blue sweater or the red sweater. “The more choices you give, the better. Go through her wardrobe and let her help make a bunch of different outfits, then let her choose which ones she’ll wear each day,” Bunnage continues.
By asking for your children’s opinion, you’re also making it more likely for them to wear what you buy for them instead of having unused pieces of clothing gathering dust in the back of their closets.
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One of the pitfalls of letting your child choose what to wear is that they either take forever to decide, or they end up wearing the same ratty old t-shirts every day. You can make the whole getting-ready process more painless by taking some time during the weekend to plan their outfits for the week.
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