toddlers choose their own clothes
How many times
have you seen a three-year-old dressed in a pink frilly skirt
over stained jeans, with her older brother's skateboard sweatshirt
completing the outfit? And remember silently tsk-tsking the
mother for allowing her child to be seen in public with such
a hideous display of clothing? Except that now, that hideously
dressed child is your own, who stubbornly insists no other
outfit will do for the trip to the mall or Grandma's House.
So what to do?
First of all, they
aren't doing it to annoy you (but don't worry, that part will
come about eight or ten years down the road). They are simply
exerting their independence, and one of the ways they can
do it is by choosing their own clothing and dressing themselves.
Children view the
world with different eyes than parents do. So that pink skirt
and orange sweatshirt are both bright noticeable colors, so
based upon that, they will match perfectly. But parents see
those same two colors, and the only thing that comes to mind
is the word clash.
First off all,
be flexible. If you are planning on staying in all day, or
just making a trip to the park, the time is ideal for letting
him or her choose the outfit of choice.
Don't always claim
the desired clothing is "dirty". Hide if you must,
but if your son's favorite dump truck t-shirt is "dirty"
for three weeks straight, soon he won't even care if it is
dirty or not, and will wear it anyway.
If a favorite item
of clothing is getting stained, worn or too small, go and
purchase another one if you can afford it. Then the next time
you go to throw it into the wash, let your child know you
are going to wash it specially to brighten up the colors,
remove the stain, or fix whatever flaw there is. That way
your child won't be suspicious when the new one appears in
place of the old one.
So what should
you do when you want your child dressed appropriately, and
not in a self-chosen outfit? Make a deal. If it is a trip
to the Grandparent's house for Sunday dinner, say they have
to wear your outfit until after supper, and then they can
change. Oftentimes, they will be having a great time, and
forget the deal anyway, but if not, at least you will have
a suitably dressed child through the dinner!