Kids can be creatures of habit. Once they find something they like, they tend to go to it over and over again. And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, adults are the same way! But when kids seem a little too picky regarding their clothing choices, that’s when problems start to happen. They don’t understand that you want them to look good, and you don’t understand their frustration. The result is arguments right at the beginning of the day before they’ve even had a chance to eat breakfast and head out the door for school. Although it may seem like they’re trying their hardest to be difficult, that might not be the case. They could have very good reasons for not wanting to wear what you want them to. And these tips can help you get to the bottom of it.
Sometimes it isn’t just about kids liking or not linking an outfit. Instead, it’s that they like or dislike how that item makes them feel, either physically or emotionally. Physically, it could be that the material is scratchy or the waist is too tight. Or maybe something makes them feel too warm or too cold. These are easy fixes, providing your child is old enough to communicate them to you. Sometimes they’re so checked out and dislike a garment so much that they don’t even want to talk about it. Without pushing too hard, try to get these questions answered so you can avoid buying similar clothes in the future. If you don’t know why they don’t like wearing something, there’s no way you can fix it.
There could also be emotional reasons for disliking an item of clothing. Although a reason might sound silly to you, think of it from a child’s perspective. Maybe one day, another kid made fun of them for wearing that item. For example, maybe you really want your daughter to wear cute pink girls’ dresses, but she’s grown to an age where that’s simply not “cool” anymore. Or maybe an outfit they wore once is associated with a bad memory. Emotions are strong, and talking about them can help both of you understand each other.
It’s amazing how many clothing designers produce clothes for kids without accounting for comfort. Instead, they focus on how cute something is or how popular a certain character is that they have painted onto the item. But kids have sensitive skin, and certain materials can even cause them to break out in painful rashes. If your kids have sensitive skin, consider shopping for fabrics like fleece or Supima cotton, which is ultra-soft.
Other than the fabric, make sure the fit is good as well. Make sure pants aren’t too tight around the waist when they sit down, for example. Some pants with elastic waistbands are ideal for younger kids for that reason. Another tip for kids who don’t like jeans is to choose kids’ jeans made with stretchy materials. Oftentimes kids avoid jeans because there are so many other comfier options out there, like sweatpants, leggings, and athletic pants.
There may be times when your kids agree with you but refuse to admit it. For example, they may like an item you pick out, but since you picked it out, they assume it’s too mom-like or “uncool.” It’s comical, yes, but it happens—especially with tweens and teens. For that matter, try taking your kid's shopping, then let them choose a few things on their own. You can, of course, have the final say, but at least it’s a start. You may even find that they ask for your advice about something. The key is to first make them feel like they have control and then offer your advice when asked. Giving control works for younger kids as well. One example is to lay out two outfit options and let them choose one. This might work best before bedtime if you have a child who isn’t a morning person and doesn’t like rushing into decisions under pressure. Consider making one of those options something new, like a girls’ skort if your daughter normally wears shorts. You may find that she comes out wearing the skort.
If you have children who habitually wear the same things, try taking baby steps. For example, if they like graphic T-shirts with leggings, tell them they can wear a graphic T-shirt one day but only if they try a different type of bottoms, whether it’s shorts, a skirt, or jeans. Don’t cave in! If they want to wear the graphic T-shirt badly enough, they’ll compromise. Chances are they’ll get familiar with whatever bottoms they choose and be more likely to add those to their favorites. Then it will be easier to transition from a graphic T-shirt to a different type of shirt, blouse, or even a dress.
Trying to get kids to wear something different can be a challenge, but it can be done. With these tips and a little bit of patience, your kids can feel more comfortable trying new things.