This one may sound a little like any parent’s nightmare, but children all get to that age where they want to dress themselves. Yes they want to wear that Alice in Wonderland costume with a Batman mask and red, spotty gumboots. Why not humour them on occasion? So long as it’s not day in and day out in the same clothing, dressing themselves, showing their special individuality, is a natural part of growing up.
I’ve gathered some advise from across the internet on how to help your child work out what feels right for them.
When children are very young, they often have little opinion on what clothes they like. Sometimes they may have a favourite shirt or dress, but otherwise they wear whatever their parent/guardian buys for them. But as children get older and begin to assert their independence, there may be a clash of opinions on what clothes are best.
This issue happens most often when in the process of shopping for clothes in store. A parent may be used to picking out all the clothes they buy for their child. One day, that child begins to say “no”. In turn, parents may object to clothes kids pick for various reasons. So to prepare for a shopping trip, discuss the do’s and don’ts. Make it clear what clothes you will allow. Give them really positive things to look for when they shop rather than negative advice.
An important concept when it comes to clothing issues and our children’s appearance; what children put on their bodies is a reflection of who they are on the inside. It is not a reflection of their parent/guardian. We might believe it is a reflection of us, so we’re the ones who get embarrassed. But don’t be, allow them to show their own unique style through their fashion choices, it instills them with a sense of self-confidence and self-empowerment.
As the quote goes “life is too short to wear matching socks!” I love this quote, even as an adult I like to mismatch my socks, it feels quirky and fun and most of the time it’s a little secret we can have a giggle about to ourselves. Mismatching socks, or clothing in general, is a way for children to show off their individuality. Stripes and spots, or tartan and lace, maybe even bright pink zebra print and character socks, if you pay little attention to it, or give positive reinforcement, it won’t be attention seeking behaviour for very long. So long as it’s not hurting them, there’s no need to intervene.
Clothing that may not “feel” right; by this I mean it may be a tactile sensitivity to the physical feel of a fabric. Seams on the inside of socks used to get to me as a child, often resulting in me wearing my school socks inside out (much to my mother’s dismay). There could also be an issue with a pair of pants that ride too high, or too low, that they do not like. If they don’t want to wear it, and it’s not going to cause issue such as being against school dress codes, let them get away with not wearing it. Just because you’ve bought it, doesn’t mean your child is going to like it.
So let your little one put on those puppy ears, that dinosaur tail, their striped socks, gumboots, and superhero t-shirt. Let them be themselves; you’ll love them all the more for it.
At Angel’s Paradise Early Education Childcare Centres, we believe in encouraging individuality of character and strive to empower young minds.