“But it’s cold outside, you’ll be freezing!”
“It’s 30 degrees today, you don’t need track pants.”
“We’re going to the shops, can you please put something a little nicer on??”
Sound familiar? Getting kids dressed in something that we deem as appropriate can create a lot of struggles. So why do we do it?
Does it really matter what they’re wearing? If the kids are opting for shorts and a t-shirt and it’s raining outside, throwing a pair of long pants, a jumper and a rain coat in the car is much easier than spending half an hour trying to get them to wear something they don’t want to wear. It generally doesn’t take that long for them to realise that they’ve chosen something that doesn’t fit the weather for the day.
It’s easy enough to pop a jumper in a back pack if you believe their clothing choices may be too cold for the weather outside.
You may also find (as we have) that when they are getting dressed as they grow, a suggestion from you that what they’ve chosen may not be comfortable outside is met with acceptance as help, rather than an order, and a change of wardrobe may ensue. They begin to trust you.
I’ve heard people tell stories of children refusing to put on a jumper, so they leave the house without one to “teach them a lesson”. Unfortunately, the lesson you’re teaching isn’t the one you intend. Instead of helping them understand that there are “natural consequences” to their decision to not bring a jumper…which is more likely to be an oversight on their part, rather than a decision…you’re teaching them that even though you knew it’d be cold outside, and you brought a jumper for yourself and your spouse, their Mum/Dad cares more about being right than their comfort/welfare.
A battle of the wills may follow. In the future, instead of letting you know that they are uncomfortable, they might choose to pretend they are fine rather than approach you and ask for help.
And not just with clothes.
I completely understand that there are some times when a dress standard is socially required. Board shorts to a wedding or bathers to a restaurant generally isn’t ideal. But if we choose not to make a big deal about wearing dress ups to the playground or party clothes to the grocers, and instead create trust in the relationship, then they’re more likely to accept a suggestion and listen to the reasoning behind it.
Jessie chose to wear her dress-up to the park and a talk this day, she didn’t care that it was falling apart in places, she felt confident in her choice, and that’s awesome 🙂
So next time, ask yourself, does it really matter, and pop something in that you’d prefer…just in case.