Do your kids get to pick their own clothes?
And what you think it’s important for your kids to know about style and their clothing choices?
I have mostly let my children pick their own clothes, partly for ease, partly because I want them to have a good sense of what they like and dislike. I just read a great article that included many other benefits of allowing children to choose their own clothing. Some of the benefits were things I’d never thought of before.
Even though I allow my kids lots of leeway when it comes to what they’re wearing, I still think they need to know about what the norms are in society so that they can make conscious choices about how they present themselves to the world. And sometimes I don’t give them as much choice. For certain functions it’s appropriate to dress up; you will wear holes in your PJ’s if you play outside in them and I am not willing to see that happen, and you’ve got to wear shoes in restaurants.
What about other times though? A few weeks ago we went on a homeschool group field trip and I found myself cringing a little when I looked at my kind of grubby looking kids next to the rest of the more polished group. I hadn’t realized how stained the clothes were that they’d put on that morning until I saw them in a larger group. Now I wonder if I ought to pay a bit more attention before events like that. I think that society in general, treats people better when they look better. Personally, I feel better about myself when I am more put together as well.
So, how do I support my children’s independence and help them look their best as well? Or is that important yet? The reality is that I don’t have it in me to, nor do I want to, pick out all their clothes. I have “dress nice” clothes set aside for things like weddings, but perhaps I ought to put some aside for “outside the home” wear as well? Or do you think that at these ages (about 2, 5 and 7) having free reign is the best idea?
Alissa Zorn is an author, and founder of the website Overthought This. She's a coach and cartoonist passionate about helping people overcome perfectionism and shame to build authentic, joyful lives. Alissa is certified through the International Coach Federation and got her Trauma-Informed Coaching certification from Moving the Human Spirit. She wrote Bounceback Parenting: A Field Guide for Creating Connection, Not Perfection, and is always following curiosity to find her next creative endeavor.