I’m honestly not sure what it was that first lead me to the decision to let our VERY LITTLE kiddos choose their clothes AND dress themselves.
Was it overwhelm?
Lack of sleep?
A “pick your battle” mindset?
With four tots under the age of four at the time, it could have been any of the above.
Whatever the initial reason, I quickly began to experience the benefits of that choice for our family!
So many of our friends are the opposite of us, which seems to fit them beautifully.
But for those .. ahem…other families… like us… here’s a little dose of hope!
There are two rules around here when it comes to clothing .. and that’s it!
Clothes need to be:
- Mostly Clean – you know kids 🙂
- Appropriate/Modest (according to our family guidelines)
Here Are My Top 3 Reasons For Letting Our Kids
Choose What They Wear
- Let me start by saying the first one being taught, was ME. I had to let go of the “picture perfect family” idea. At the time I was clueless, but now I get it – that was never us anyways and I am fine with that now 🙂 I fell into the trap that maybe people would believe that our well-dressed children = well-behaved children. Um, not so much. Once I was able to let go of my own issue of pride in that, it was actually quite freeing!
- I had to teach them, early on, how to dress themselves completely and (hint) they were more capable than I knew! They had to learn to prepare for the morning, the night before. They had to choose and lay out their clothes before bed (It’s not that you can’t when the parent picks the clothes for them but them being able to choose from their options, was part of the fun)
They Are More Than What’s On The Outside
Their personalities shaped their clothing choices, not the other way around.
- It HAS been really awesome to see over the years … when comparing then and now, guess what?? They still seem to gravitate towards the same style! We have a “comfy yet fashionable girl”, a fancy type “old-time style” girl, “crazy & wacky mismatched” girl and a “confident in whatever I’m wearing” young man who often makes others smile with his choices.
- It allowed us to begin bit-by-bit teaching that clothing reflects on the outside who we are on the inside. We believe clothing choice is a heart issue. Before diving into modesty, we begin to plant little seeds that we wear can be God-honoring, reflect our own unique personalities and that those things are infinitely more important than what everyone else is wearing!
It Helps Develop Confidence And Comfort In Being Themselves
- It gives them a sense of control over some aspect of their little world that is full of other people’s demands. By handling the area of clothes on their own, they get a sense of ownership that they may not have had ’til much later in life.
- By providing the comfort factor, we can help encourage confidence. Even as adults, we are more confident when we are comfortable. I’ve found the same really goes for our kids. When they are comfy, they have a little more pep-in-their-step and they can get used to handling the inside emotions, not adding to them by worrying about the external.
- They can make others feel more comfortable.
Flashback with me for a moment in the past ….
Let’s say you’re with a group of kids who are feeling PRETTY concerned with their outward appearance. In walk a few crazy kiddos – confidently wearing bright, mismatched colors or even part of a costume – that group might just stop worrying about it so much …or at least sigh a breath of relief and crack a smile!
My Veerrry most favourite thing, though, is how they make people smile!
Others feel at ease around them and people tell us how they “made their day!” I can’t tell you how many times my Spidey- knee pads- over- baseball pants-with flannel shirt- topped with a tie – wearing son has brought smiles to others faces and compliments of how good it is to see a confident young man (not that he knew what that meant at the time!). People light up when they see our creatively curated outfits, and I love that!
I am thankful for God’s grace leading us down yet another parenting path that I never intended or really even thought about until later 🙂
It is my heart to teach them that clothes can be God and other people honouring AND fun, fashionable AND individual. I want them to understand the why behind it and to grow into their own style, in time and confidently!
So what works for you? Please leave a comment below, we would love to hear about it!
Talk to you soon,
O Lord, You have pleaded the case for my soul;
You have redeemed my life.
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