At What Age Should a Child Pick Out Their Own Clothes?
The clothes we put on are an important part of who we are. They are the first things a stranger sees when they look at us, and whether we like it or not, they allow us to express ourselves without words. Of course, your choice of clothing can also be for practical reasons – your outfit may be based on where you’re going or what you’re going to do there.
It still doesn’t take away from the message our clothes send out to the world: “Hi, I’m a doctor”, or “Hi, I’m headed to the office”, or “Hi, let’s party!”
What about kids? Should they be allowed to express themselves? If so, at what age should they start to do that? This article will explore this subject and give you all the answers. It shall also help you figure out exactly how much control over the choice you should allow your child to have.
When should kids start picking out their clothes?
Most toddlers can dress themselves by the time they turn 3. When they reach this age, they can pick out outfits that they like. Besides, it is usually at this age when you’ll start noticing them becoming a little choosy with their clothes.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should consider waiting until your little one turns 4 or 5 before giving them full control when it comes to choosing what they want to wear.
However, because children are different, the “ideal” age tends to vary depending on the child. Before letting your child pick out their outfits, start by taking them along with you on shopping trips to help hone their observational and decision-making skills.
Why should kids have the freedom to choose what they wear?
Here are some reasons why you might want to consider letting your child pick out their outfit:
• Clothes allow for self-expression
How your child opts to put together an outfit is a reflection of their personality. As your little one starts to discover what they like (in terms of colors, songs, and shows, for instance), they will want to express how they feel, and the clothes they pick may be one of the ways they choose to do this.
• Build confidence
Allowing your child to pick out their outfits will give them a sense of achievement. If your child isn’t too sure of an outfit that they choose, encourage them to wear it and show your support to help them gain confidence in their decision making.
• Build a sense of independence
Letting your child have a hand in what they wear gives them a sense of independence. Start by letting them pick out a few items that they like during shopping and let them see you paying for the clothes so that they have an idea of how it works. This way, they will eventually learn how to shop reasonably for themselves.
Handling the situation when your child starts to choose their clothes
• Give them options
Allow your child to choose from a variety of options. Instead of giving them the freedom to choose from their whole closet, start by presenting them with two or three options.
• Be patient
The first few times you let your little one select their outfit will most likely be chaotic. Remember to be patient with them and guide their choices without being overbearing.
• Practice, practice, practice
Start by letting your child choose what to wear around the house, and as they begin to understand what works best for them and get better at pairing outfits, they can move on to picking outfits for certain outings.
When you notice that your child has started forming their own opinion about how they want to look, it is time to start letting them having some control over the clothes they wear. Because every child is different, this age may vary.
As you do so, though, keep in mind that you still get the final say as a parent. As long as what they pick isn’t utterly outrageous, this transitional period shouldn’t be too hard to for you to handle. In fact, it might just turn out to be lots of fun for both of you! Good luck!