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, he is especially at risk of growing out of clothes before he is 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 his 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 his shirt. You may find yourself in a situation where you need to, somehow, convince Baby that it’s time to stop wearing his favorite thing. Convincing Baby and helping him 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 his 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 he goes 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 his dresser. Tell Baby that even though he can&;t wear it anymore, he can totally keep it around. Sooner or later, he 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 he would think about giving his beloved item to another child who needs it. Maybe it can become someone else’s favorite piece of clothing!

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