When your toddler grows out of an old favorite

It’s easy for toddlers (and adults, really) to get attached to specific objects or pieces of clothing. Because Baby is growing so quickly, they are especially at risk of growing out of clothes before they are quite ready to part with them. This can lead to tantrums, desperate pleas to wear a certain shirt or sweater, or a refusal to wear any shoes that aren’t their light-up sneakers.

You’ll want to help, of course, but it’s not always easy. You can’t force too-small shorts to fit again, and you can’t have Baby walking around the grocery store with holes in their shirt. You may find yourself in a situation where you need to, somehow, convince Baby that it’s time to stop wearing their favorite thing. Convincing Baby and helping them cope with the loss of a favorite item can take a few different forms.

Start fresh

Sometimes a clean break is the best option. One day their favorite dinosaur shirt is here, the next day it’s gone. Who knows where it went! But hey, look at this giraffe shirt – pretty cool, huh? Soon enough, you’ll have a new favorite for Baby. And if not…maybe keep the dinosaur shirt in your closet for a little while, just in case.

Start slow

If you know a rip-the-bandage-off strategy won’t go well with Baby, you can try a gentler method. Replace the beloved object with something similar without taking the original item away. If they go for the tried-and-true favorite, suggest the new item “this time.” As Baby (hopefully) grows to like the new item, you can phase out the original.

Suspended animation

Hey, it’s not the worst thing in the world if Baby keeps an extra article of clothing in their dresser. Tell Baby that even though they can&;t wear it anymore, they can totally keep it around. Sooner or later, they will forget all about it, and you can quietly send it to the clothing afterlife.


If you don’t want to keep a clothing item but don’t want to get rid of it, just change what it is! An old shirt can become part of a blanket, a cover for a pillow, or just a shirt for a stuffed animal. Shoes, pants, and dresses are a little trickier, but there are tons of suggestions for repurposing children’s clothing items online. If you have too many outgrown clothes to upcycle, try asking Baby what they would think about giving their beloved item to another child who needs it. Maybe it can become someone else’s favorite piece of clothing!

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