I want peace more than I want matching outfits on my kids. Sometimes peace is disguised as a hot mess wearing two different shoes (including a tap shoe), a yellow-furry-fox-dress, cherry-capri-pants (those didn’t make it into our summer box apparently), and hot-pink, polka-dotted Minnie Mouse ears. And other times, it’s even worse.
Our day-to-day rule: cover your parts. Be modest. Be appropriate. Other than that, have free reign! I don’t have the time or energy to debate or fight. It’s not worth a daily battle or a tearful child (or 4). It’s really good for kids to have some autonomy and a sense of free will. A lot of choices are made for them when they are young, so let them make choices when you can & when it doesn’t really matter. It builds independence and a sense of individuality. You can offer tips, to help guide them, but let them lead the way. .
Of course, there are select times when I care more. I mean, sometimes my kids need to match because I need to get a cute picture with coordinating outfits, okay? Or, maybe there is a special event. For times like these, offer as many choices as possible, but only offer choices you can live with. “Would you like to wear the purple dress or the purple shirt with some jeans?” .
Then there are times with more specific dress codes. A soccer game or dance recital when they need to wear the teams jersey or costume. Kids are usually excited to be a part of a group and are happy to wear what’s required. On the rare occasions when this is a problem, I do require my kids to follow these dress expectations. It’s our responsibility to teach kids social norms and how to abide by the rules. Use empathy and acknowledge the discontentment without engaging in a debate, “I know your not thrilled to wear this jersey, but that’s how everyone will know what team your on. Wear it to soccer and then after the game you can change into whatever you want.” Then redirect, “which underwear do you want, red or blue”? .
What’s your dress policy? Do you choose for them? Do you give them 100% free choice all the time? Are there certain times that you pick and others they pick? What’s the craziest thing your child has ever worn?