Common Clothing-Related Challenges
What's your little fashion plate's dressing style? Beyond the general advice of setting limits and adopting a lenient attitude when possible, specific clothing situations require specific tactics.

Here are some of the most common clothing-related challenges and what you can do about them:

• The Dawdler
– Not being dressed on time is virtually a universal problem with toddlers, preschoolers and grade-schoolers. After all, refusing to get dressed within a reasonable amount of time in the morning is an effective way for young children to show they do not share adult priorities. Planning ahead and allowing extra time are crucial for keeping the day on track. If your daughter takes forever choosing an outfit, give her a choice of two the night before and then lay out the clothes. If your son can never find his shoes, designate a special shoe place and make sure they’re where they should be at the end of each day.

• The Touch-Sensitive – Anecdotal evidence indicates that many children have a tactile objection to at least one article of clothing. Some can’t handle tags or sock seams, some will wear only 100 percent cotton, some refuse buttons or zippers. The best approach here is to comply with their preferences as much as possible. “This is a question of basic-level comfort, as well as autonomy,” says Hallowell.

• The Obsessive – Some kids insist on wearing the same piece of clothing over and over, even when it’s worn out, dirty or no longer fits. If possible, buy two or more and save them. Other children will wear only dresses or costumes every day.

“They’re saying, ‘This is comfortable, this is familiar, this is soothing,’” Messenger explains. “As the world gets less predictable, having the same outfit gives some predictability.”

Set practical boundaries (such as a laundering schedule) and then be prepared to bite your tongue. “Kids develop attachments and it’s very hard to change those,” adds Hallowell.

• The Inappropriate – Whether it’s wearing shorts and T-shirts in the snow or decking themselves out like a modern pop diva, children have a variety of inappropriate ways of dressing. One way to fight back is to divide the child’s closet into categories such as play clothes, party clothes and school clothes. Buy mix-and-match clothing to minimize hair-raising choices. Unfortunately, older kids can be especially resourceful when it comes to fighting back against the limits. (Kids have changed their clothes at the bus stop since time immemorial.)

Clothing issues can try the most patient of parents. “Try to keep a sense of humor about it and realize every other parent in the world is going through this too,” advises Hallowell.

p. 2 l Return to Kids Clothes: Choosing a Wardrobe that Makes Both of You Happy