April Moments

Maybe, just maybe, telling the story is just as important as the story itself

Clothing choices and possible capitulation

A few weeks ago I wrote about Elliot’s newfound desire to pick out his own clothes and dress himself. Perhaps I went in reverse order. The Aug. 25 blog was about the dressing part. This week is about the choosing part.

There are certain shirts and bottoms that Elliot likes more than others. He usually prefers t-shirts, despite his stubbornness to wear that button-down shirt a few weeks ago. I honestly think the reason for that decision was that the shirt used to belong to his cousin Andrew, whom Elliot adores.

There have been several occasions, however, when Elliot’s choices in clothing combinations do not match or when he wants to wear the same shirt over and over again. I’m thankful the latter is a rare occasion though.

My brother and sister-in-law also have dealt with a picky dresser in Andrew. He prefers particular pieces over others and has, in the past, been known to insist so persistently on certain clothes that he was allowed to wear the same shirt every day of the week.

So, what are we supposed to do when our children choose completely mismatched outfits? Let them go to school in that uncoordinated combination? When discussing Andrew wearing his favorite shirt every single day of the week, my brother and sister-in-law would say to me, “He’s just going to day care. Who cares what he has on?”

Elliot pre-k

Elliot agrees to wear an outfit of my choosing on the first day of Pre-K.

Well, when it’s my child, I care. But, why? Am I being totally materialistic because I want Elliot’s clothes to match and be varied throughout the week or weeks? We teach our children how to identify colors when they’re toddlers. Shouldn’t we similarly teach them which colors go together?

I do, in fact, want Elliot to grow up knowing how to dress himself. My wise friend, who is mom to a 5-year-old daughter, pointed out, “You still have many years to teach him how to dress.” True.

So, the next time Elliot selects a mismatched combination, perhaps I should let him wear it to preschool. Is this capitulation? Am I giving in and letting him have his way? Am I setting him up to get made fun of? Or, am I simply encouraging his independence and nurturing his confidence? What if someone says something negative to him about it? Or, what if someone judges me, thinking I don’t know how to dress my child?

What is the solution? I heard one mom suggest alternating who gets to choose the day’s clothes. For example, let Elliot pick out his outfit one day, and I choose the next day. Then, continue that pattern.

Another thing I need to start doing is making the clothing choices part of the nighttime routine, rather than in the morning. This will give us more of a chance to discuss why something does not work together, as opposed to arguing about it in the morning when everyone is rushed.

Any other tips, parents?

Originally published on ovparent.com.


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