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Real Mom Talk: Letting Kids Choose Their Own Clothes
February 23, 2015 6:46 pm | by

UntitledGetting 3 kids out of bed, dressed, fed, and out the door each morning is a circus: matching outfits, brushing teeth, combing hair, finding shoes, putting on coats. It’s chaos. A time-sucker. It’s not for the faint of heart. Mama’s always trying to find a way to make it easier.

I used to pick out a week’s worth of outfits per kid every Sunday night. This way we’d have an easier time getting out the door each morning. Sometimes this would backfire. On more than one occasion, my daughter put ALL of the clothes on, as well as her brother’s (underwear and all) over her regular outfit. As shown in the picture. 🙂 And with 3 kids, it took me forever to create 15 outfits week in and week out. Eventually I fell out of this habit. So instead we’d dig through massive piles of clean laundry each morning to find an outfit for each kid AND ourselves! Not fun, and definitely not a time-saver. Something had to change!

The last few months I’ve implemented something new. We’ve started putting the responsibility on our older 2 kids (ages 5 and 7) to pick out their clothes and get themselves dressed each day. Every Sunday night they pick out 5 outfits for the week — weather-appropriate tops and bottoms, socks, and underwear. Of course, there have been a few laughs along the way. Our son frequently puts his shirt on backwards and we don’t notice it until dinnertime. (Notice his collar in the picture below.) Or sending my daughter to school in an old flower-girl dress paired with jeans and plastic princess jewelry — swas thrilled that she had gotten to wear such a fancy dress to school!

Our new routine has revealed an unexpected benefit: it has forced me to be more disciplined with our laundry routine. No more dumping clean laundry in my bedroom until I get around to folding and putting it away, which maybe happened once a month. I have been washing laundry 2-3 times per week and folding it as soon as it’s out of the dryer, and my son and daughter are responsible for putting away their own clothes, so when Sunday night rolls around, they can easily pick their outfits.

Untitled 1A few tips that will make the process easy for your kids:

  • Make sure their clothes are easy to access. Use pictures or simple words to label their drawers, and give them a step-stool to reach clothes in the closet.
  • Keep their wardrobe organized for size and season. If they are dressed for school in a tank top and shorts and it’s 20 degrees outside, it’ll just make them (and you!) frustrated and way behind schedule.
  • Don’t overcomplicate it or critique their choices. You can teach them how to coordinate colors and prints, but part of the fun is that they get to express themselves. They’ll learn fashion rules eventually. (If they wear jeans most days, you don’t really have to worry about this step.)
  • Establish rules, but only if necessary. I don’t let my daughter walk out of the house in her plastic princess shoes or costume clothing. But that’s pretty much the only rule we have!

Giving them control of this small thing is a big deal to them, and it has wonderful advantages. It encourages independence, fosters creativity, and helps them learn responsibility and self-care. All of that is fine and great. But let’s face it; the best part is that it is one less thing I have to do for them!

About the Author

Francesca Abernathy is a mother of three children and loves to cook, bake, and jog. She works outside of the home but dreams of the day she can sit on her couch, watch Dr. Oz, and eat Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups from 8:00-5:00. She lives with her saint of a husband in St. Louis, Mo.



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