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