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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles Dressing Themselves

Dressing Themselves:

Inevitably, children hit that age where they want to assert their independence. This can happen at any age, really, but it most often just after or during the toddler timeframe. They want to do things themselves, they want to dress themselves, they are big kids now, and this is how they want it. You, of course, don't have to go along with them having this freedom, but you may discover that it's easier to. Plus, most often, child psychologists will recommend that children be given this freedom. Not that they be given all freedoms, or be allowed to make important decisions, but simply that they be given the freedom every now and then to pick their own clothes or shoes. These trivial things really don’t matter much to the parents, but to the children it is everything.

But, the problem does arise when the parents have let the child make these decisions on a regular basis, but then there is a day where the child shouldn't get to pick what they are wearing. Maybe it's a holiday and there will be many people there, maybe it is family picture day, and you want your child to dress nicely, or you are simply going out to eat and you would prefer that the pink skirt on top of the yellow pants with the black dress shoes and purple and orange shirt not be your child's ensemble of choice. But it probably will be. And, how do you talk your child out of wearing this outfit without it ending up worse because she shows up with puffy eyes and a runny nose from crying?

There are a couple of things you can do to avoid this type of situation:

• Buy a new outfit in advance—if your child has a pretty or cool new outfit that they can't wear until this specific time, they are more likely to agree with you on what they should wear.

• Put up their nicest favorite thing—when your child picks a favorite outfit, it will be something he will want to wear all the time, so if they aren't able to find those clothes, when they get to wear it, they are extremely happy. If one of your child's favorite sets of clothes is something nice, put it up where they can't find it. Then, on those occasions where you want them to dress nice, they will agree with you more quickly because they have been looking for this outfit, and you just made them ecstatic by finding it.

If this is a last-minute thing and you weren't able to prepare this way (or if your child simply doesn't go along with this), you really only have two choices: let them wear it or let them be upset.

One of the biggest rules in parenting (that allows the parent to be able to keep at least minimal sanity) is to pick your battles. If how they look on this occasion is important enough for them to be upset about it, you will want to make them wear what you want. If it's not, you might just want to let them wear what they want. This decision becomes a lot easier if you know this little secret: almost every parent has had to take their child in public looking like a freak. If your child's clothing of choice consists of more than a bathing suit, you might want to consider yourself lucky. I have seen children walking around the grocery store wearing nothing but a bathing suit and galoshes (when it wasn't raining), I have had to take my girls out wearing jeans under skirts with shirts and shoes that didn't match, and for three weeks my son went everywhere dressed like Batman's sidekick (that was the aftermath of the Robin Halloween costume).

It's not always easy to take your child in public this way, but knowing that other parents have went through it makes it a little more bearable. And, if you want to get your child back for the embarrassment, you can always take pictures of them dressed that way and show it to the first person they date when they are a teenager.

Copyright 2013. All educational materials are the sole property of Kid First Internet and are available for the benefit of our parents. Duplication or use of any material requires the express consent of Kids First Internet.

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