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Look What I’m Wearing: A Kids Guide

The debate: When is your child old enough to start dressing themselves? Do you risk a fashion faux pas or just dress them yourself?

You need to give them the freedom of being a unique individual and finding out their personal sense of style, despite the interesting choices they may make through this process.

Give them the control to express themselves and they will feel the reward. They will begin to assert their independence through something as simple as picking out their outfit.

This can potentially turn into a time-consuming activity if you’re relying on them to dress before school. Have them set out their choice before bed, including shoes, socks, underpants.. Everything! Or, try putting out two options and letting them choose. They will still feel satisfaction in that they had a choice. This will make it easier on you both, and give you the opportunity to make sure it’s appropriate.

You want to make sure your child dresses appropriately when you’re giving them this independence. Dress codes are still important. There’s some questions you should go over before taking this step to decide what you’re comfortable with.

What about shorts, pants or a dress? Closed toe shoes or sandals? What’s your child’s school policy? What’s the weather like? Discuss all this with your child.

You can also start with letting them pick out clothing for school, or only weekends. Then you have the opportunity to dress them for more fancy events, going out to dinner, or to grandmas, etc.

They will feel that you trust their decisions, which contributes to their self-esteem.

Overall, pick your battles – if they want to wear stripes and plaid, let them. They’ll still look adorable!

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Speaking of Marriage

Winifred M. Reilly, M.A., MFT

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