When your child starts to explore their independence one of the first things they want to do is pick their own outfits. This can lead to some pretty crazy outfits. Those outfits are great for around the house but what about when it is time to leave? How do you balance how to teach a child to dress themselves and basic matching skills? What do you do then?
You pop them into the car and off you go.
Yes, it may be uncomfortable for you to have your child in a crazy outfit. However, it benefits them in many ways to let them stay in it.
It can be hard to teach figure out how to teach a child to dress themselves. It requires a huge deal of patience! Patience is required for every single item of clothing that is put on. I felt like I was adding an extra hour to the morning routine at first. However, seeing the boost of confidence in my child was enough to make me keep going. Also, the benefits of learning how to teach a child to dress themselves are well worth the patience.
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Benefits of Learning How to Teach a Child to Dress Themselves
As you are wrangling your child into clothing in the morning, it can be hard to think of what those benefits could actually be. As you are looking for ways in how to teach a child to dress themselves, you may start to have questions. Why start so soon? Why give them so much independence? Am I doing the right thing? Here are some reasons that the benefits are high.
Many times we as adults will pick out clothes for our kids based on what would be comfortable for us. However, those clothes may not be comfortable for your child. If you allow your child to stay in their chosen outfit, they will walk out of the house with their head held high and ready to face the obstacles of the day. When they are comfortable in what they are wearing, they will be more confident too.
This is especially important if you have a child with sensory processing disorder. Trying to do outings can be especially tough. Having your child dress themselves is a huge way to help your child. If they can be comfortable in their clothing, it decreases anxiety they will have when they leave the house.
The outfit may be a bit crazy but, think about how confident they were when they said ‘Look what I am going to wear today’. When you let your child wear what they chose, it boosts their confidence in themselves by showing them that you as their parent will support their choices. Supporting the crazy outfits is a small step towards supporting all of their bigger life choices. Sometimes, it may feel that you are not focusing on how to teach a child to dress themselves, but you are. Eventually, you can focus on matching, but in this stage of development confidence trumps fashion.
Explore their Style
Allowing your child to remain in the outfit they picked out for the day allows them the ability to explore their own style. You as an adult have your own sense of style and you acquire that through doing your own exploration. Whether you let your child do it as a toddler or not, they will explore their style at some point. Why not give them a head start?
While I believe that everyone should be free to wear what they are most comfortable in, society is more accepting of crazy outfits when a toddler is wearing them versus an adult. A toddler in a goofy outfit is cute and will receive compliments. Where if you put an adult in an equally crazy outfit, they tend to get funny looks. Letting your child go through the goofy stage a young age is easier than when they get older.
One Less Step For You
When you let your child pick out their own clothes it is one less thing you need to do either in the morning or the night before. Even though it seems like a small task, it will give you a bit of extra time to do something else. Every step your child takes in independence is a step of freedom that you have also!
One Less Fight
Do you know those days where your child resists getting dressed? You will have less of those when your child can pick out their own outfit. Having an outfit that they are excited to wear, will make getting dressed so much easier than trying to struggle to get them into an outfit they don’t want to wear.
Sometimes, raising a well-behaved child means that you choose your battles. Children want independence. They don’t want to fight all the time. They are just learning how to cope in a world that they have to follow others’ rules. If you give them the chance to make some decisions for themselves, it is worth it.
I have found that letting my kids leave the house in their chosen outfits leads to happier kids in the morning. There was less arguing and fighting to start the day so their good moods are continued long past the morning hours.
It may take a bit of an adjustment for you to be comfortable letting your child leave the house in goofy outfits but, I can promise you the benefits long outweigh the few snarky comments you may encounter. So, take a deep breath and walk out the door with your head held high to knowing your child is comfortable and happy.
Also, a bonus tip: You may be making other parents more comfortable without realizing it. We live in a world where people are quick to judge. We are in an age where people feel they have to always be presentable. If you allow your child to dress how they want, it may let the guard down for some other families. Some other families may have less of a struggle now too!