My two children are very different. My daughter, an aspiring pop star, is always red carpet ready and wouldn't dare wear sweats. Meanwhile my son, a wannabe scientist, has never met a hoodie he didn't like. I used to fight with them to wear the adorable outfits I picked out, only to give up so we could get out of the house. I've since learned that their style is an important extension of who they are and needs to be nurtured. If you're frustrated with battling about clothes, you should know that there are some important reasons why your kid should dress themselves.
It may seem that your child is just using their odd fashion choices to get under your skin, but there's something more way important going on. Her insistence on wearing that green sweater, orange socks, and tiara to school is rooted in a need to exercise some control in her life, according to Today's Parent. Every day, adults are telling children what to eat and when to sleep. This is their chance to make herself heard.
Although you may not want to be caught dead wearing socks with sandals, it might be better for your child if you don't report him to the fashion police. The practice of getting dressed on his own will help your child develop his motor skills and leave him with a sense of accomplishment — a huge confidence booster. But if your child's unique style makes you cringe, don't worry, as Today's Parent mentioned, this desire to be different usually ends in first grade, when there is more social pressure to fit in with the group.
Still not convinced? Here are a few reasons why you should let your child dress themselves — no matter how ridiculous the outfit may be.
1. It Will Make Mornings Easier
Getting kids out the door in the mornings can be an agonizing battle for many parents. Forcing a kid to wear an outfit you've picked out often gives them another reason to push back and test the limits of your authority. By giving your child the freedom to choose what she wears, you can eliminate some of the conflict that tends to slow you down in the morning, according to Parents.
2. It Helps Develop Their Motor Skills
Getting dressed isn't just about picking out pretty patterns. According to Parents, when your child dresses himself, it helps to develop his fine and gross motor skills. Balancing to put on pants and using fingers to pull up zippers and push down snaps can be a great way to put their dexterity into practice.
3. It Helps Build Confidence
There's nothing like the feeling you get when you complete a task, and kids are no exception. The sense of accomplishment your little one feels when he puts together an outfit on his own will go a long way in helping to build his confidence, according to Parents.
4. It Promotes Independence
Baby Center noted that, between the ages of 2 and 3, your child will begin to assert his independence in a major way. His insistence on doing everything by himself may drive you crazy, but it is important to allow him to explore and test limits. Although it's too soon to let him cross the street on his own, you can give him a safe little taste of independence by allowing him to dress himself.
5. It Enhances Creativity
Let's face it, life would be pretty boring if everyone walked around in white shirts and khakis all of the time. As Metro Parent Daily mentioned, allowing kids to pick out their own outfits gives them an opportunity to experiment with their creativity. Who knows? Some of their fashion choices may inspire you to give your wardrobe a reboot.
So keep calm and let your little one have a little fun getting dressed on his own. You can always add layers if you're worried about the weather. Giving up a little control may make your mornings a lot easier to manage. Just be sure to take lots of pictures — you'll definitely want to show his friends some of those creative outfit choices when he's older.