Your toddler's sense of style
If you’ve been finding yourself in a daily struggle with your baby when it comes time to get dressed, be happy: it’s a sign that she’s growing up!
At this age, toddlers are eager to have some independence in any way they can, and picking out clothes to wear is a great way for them to assert themselves. If you want your baby to dress practically, and she wants to dress like her favorite character every day, you’re likely to find yourselves butting heads.
There are good reasons to embrace your baby’s fashion choices, within reason. She is beginning to use clothing to express who she is, starting with her likes and dislikes. While you want to be sure she is dressed to face the day, there are ways to let her feel in control of her fashion choices.
- Give options: If your baby will only wear a certain character shirt, for example, offer her the choice of two shirts that fit her criteria. This will give you the space to pick out what you think is appropriate to go with the shirt, like a sweatshirt on a cool day, while still giving her the power to make the final call.
- Listen to concerns: Maybe a certain material really bothers your baby, or she can’t stand to wear shirts with a particular neckline. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but it’s also not that different from the way adults have different tastes in clothes. As long as your little one isn’t objecting to the idea of wearing clothes out of hand, it’s usually worth it to work with her to help her find something to wear that she will feel comfortable wearing.
- Be reasonable: Sometimes (okay, lots of times), toddlers don’t respond well to logic. If it’s a freezing cold day and your baby wants to wear shorts, your first reaction will generally be no. But if you’re looking for a way to avoid a showdown, you can meet her halfway by letting her wear leggings or tight-fitting pants underneath her shorts. She may look silly, but as long as you’re not headed anywhere fancy, it’s not going to hurt anyone either.
- Plan in advance: Neither you or your baby is going to enjoy starting the day by finding out that the favorite sweater that she just has to wear is missing in action. Talk to your baby before bed about what she wants to wear the next day, and make sure it’s a reasonable option. This will spare you the stress of a meltdown if her very favorite thing isn’t an option that day.
It may cause some conflicts here and there, but your baby’s growing interest in what she wears is a sign of growing independence and creativity. As she grows, she will eventually be the only one responsible for getting herself dressed, so now is a great time for her to start to practice!
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