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3 Tips for Letting Kids Decide What to Wear

3 Tips for Letting Kids Decide What to Wear

Should you let your three-year-old waltz out the door wearing a purple tutu, a polka dot sweater, and green galoshes? Many moms wonder when to relinquish some control over their kids' outfit choices, and where to draw boundaries. To help you navigate this kids' clothing dilemma, we polled our Kids' Style bloggers and received some great tips! 

While interest in clothing choices develops at different ages for different children, many moms say they began giving clothing control to their kids somewhere between ages two and four. As TheScandivanianMum, who blogs at Little Scandinavian, recalls: "They were around 2 years old when they suddenly had strong opinions about what to wear, like their favourite nightie to a party, bright red tights on a hot summer day and summer sandals in the middle of a snowy winter."

Even at such a young age, moms like Citlalli Rodriguez, of the blog Color Land, believe encouraging wardrobe creativity is healthy: "I try to respect her decisions, children have their own style, are creative and I especially love the way they mix different patterns and colors...The most important [thing] is to respect our kids' own decisions, they need to feel comfortable and happy wearing their outfits, so ....just keep it simple and let your kids have fun dressing up!"


Still, while many moms are supportive of their children's personal styles, they still recommend some simple tips for setting boundaries:


1. Limit What's Available

Limit which clothing is visible to your child, suggests TheScandivanianMum: "Clear out seasonal clothes and shoes, away in boxes and out of sight. Keep dressing up clothes away, with the toys. Keep swimwear with the towels. Clothes that are too big need to be away, in your wardrobe perhaps. And the clothes they have outgrown must go."

In a similar vein, Celina Bailey of Petit à Petit and Family recommends controlling the options available through your purchases: "I will fill their closet with items of my choice and then they can choose what they want to wear."

2. Offer Choices

Courtney of Kids Fashion Review is one of several moms who suggest offering a few outfit options to your child: "Try and give you child a ‘choice’ from two or three outfits that you select. This way the child still feels that the decision is theirs, and you are still making use of your favourite pieces." Tayla Thomforde of My Journey Home agrees: "I'm not going to let her look like a crazy, but give her two or three options to choose from."

3. Bring Backup

It never hurts to pack a weather and activity appropriate back-up outfit. As Melanie of Menschenkind relays: "If he wants to wear his wellies on his bike, well I let him do it — and secretly pack a normal pair of shoes in my bag that he can put on once he realizes that Mum was right when she said that this is not a clever choice (after two minutes or so)."

And of course, don't stress too much over clothing choices. As Sheri Silver of the blog donuts, dresses and dirt wisely advises: "There are children who adamantly insist on tutus for pre-school and snow boots in summer. Having been a parent for over 20 years now I can honestly say, pick your battles — and clothing should NOT be one of them. As long as they are warm and dry and covered up it's all good!"

What's the craziest outfit your child has worn?

Image Source: via Flickr/Creative Commons

Join The Conversation
Abbs44287 Abbs44287 5 years
We let our 4 year old daughter wear what she wants, she's been picking out her own clothes since she was about 2 1/2 and we love her sense of her having her own opinion and style. What I used to do was I laid out 3 outfits appropriate for where were going (church, a birthday party, to the mall), and I asked our daughter which outfit would you like to wear to church? We let her choose her own outfit or mix and match herself. We buy her clothes appropriate for her age of course and we've taught her to know that she shouldn't wear short things, etc. We've channel surfed on the tv and she saw the little girls in the show Toddlers and Tiaras and know that is so not appropriate wearing make up, and the girls wearing the type of clothes, not even when they're in the pageants. Our daughter has come with us to the grocery store wearing her Tinkerbell halloween costume from last year and sandals and we let her. She's not in school right now, so she understands she can dress up in her dresses at home. But when she starts kindergarten next year, she'll have to wear nice clothes that is meant for school and she knows that. She's an independent little girl and we love that about her, we want her to have her own opinions. We don't let her wear those Hannah Montana or Selina Gomez sequined tops and the type of clothes for 8 year olds, but I will admit, our daughter is pretty stylish and she gets compliments on things all the time. We know she can be stylish and dress fun without her thinking she can wear what the big girls are wearing.
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