If you’ve been finding yourself in a daily struggle with Baby when it comes time to get dressed, be happy: it’s a sign that he’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 Baby to dress practically, and he wants to dress like his favorite character every day, you’re likely to find yourselves butting heads.
There are good reasons to embrace Baby’s fashion choices, within reason. He is beginning to use clothing to express who he is, starting with his likes and dislikes. While you want to be sure he is dressed to face the day, there are ways to let him feel in control of his fashion choices.
- Give options: If Baby will only wear a certain character shirt, for example, offer him the choice of two shirts that fit his 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 him the power to make the final call.
- Listen to concerns: Maybe a certain material really bothers Baby, or he 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 him to help him find something to wear that he 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 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 him halfway by letting him wear leggings or tight-fitting pants underneath his shorts. He 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 Baby is going to enjoy starting the day by finding out that the favorite sweater that he just has to wear is missing in action. Talk to Baby before bed about what he wants to wear the next day, and make sure it’s a reasonable option. This will spare you the stress of a meltdown if his very favorite thing isn’t an option that day.
It may cause some conflicts here and there, but Baby’s growing interest in what he wears is a sign of growing independence and creativity. As he grows, he will eventually be the only one responsible for getting himself dressed, so now is a great time for him to start to practice!