As a parent, you’ve likely experienced that moment when the immovable object that is your expectation meets the unstoppable force of your child’s will. What your child will wear on a given day is frequently the stand over which battle is joined. So, if your child insists they will only wear pajamas, remember: this, too, shall pass. Read on for some tips to help you get to that point or at least survive with your sanity intact until then.
Neurologists, psychologists, and other experts have established that children do not think the same way adults do. Your child may not see things as you want them to. This is especially true if your child is a toddler, preschooler, kindergartener, or in the primary grades. So, the first thing to do (that is, after taking a deep breath and counting to 10) is to ask your child why they want only to wear pajamas. It could be one of the reasons discussed below or something else altogether.
Maybe your child prefers the way the pajamas feel. Some children are more sensitive to the feel of certain fabrics, and it may be that your offspring is one of those individuals. Check the label to learn the fabric content, then see if you can find “regular” clothing in the same material. If your child favors flannel pajamas, for example, look for boy’s flannel shirts.
You’ve also got options with which to swap out pajama bottoms. Try seeing if your child would be happy wearing a pair of sweatpants or lounge pants, which are commonly considered acceptable these days to wear outside of the home. If you’re not convinced, check out your local school during morning drop-off and look at what students are wearing (if not uniforms). If you still want something a little more mainstream, suggest they try a pair of kids leggings. You can choose from a variety of fabrics, so with a bit of research on your part, you should be able to find something that your child thinks is just as comfy as their jammies.
Perhaps your child is particularly enamored of the pajamas’ pattern or design. Does your child wear superhero or character pajamas? If that’s the case, consider seeing if your child will exchange their pajamas for graphic T-shirts in a similar design or bearing a similar image. Or look for a top and bottom with a pattern or color that matches as near as possible to their sleepwear.
Once you’ve figured out the why you can work on finding a compromise with your child. If your child is in school and required to wear a school uniform or follow a dress code that does not permit pajamas, wearing jammies to school is a nonstarter. If that’s the case, consider allowing your little one to change into pajamas after returning home from school. After all, does it really matter what they wear while having an afterschool snack or doing whatever homework they may have? You can also schedule periodic pajama days as a reward for wearing regular clothes. Tape a calendar to the refrigerator or your child’s bedroom door so they can check off the days.
Another possible compromise is to allow your child to keep a spare pajama top (or bottom) in their school backpack. That way, even if they can’t wear it, your child can still take their pj’s with them and indulge in an occasional peek or touch for reassurance, the same way they might a beloved stuffed animal.
To be honest, the issue of when and where your child should wear pajamas is only a battle if you make it one. If you’ve tried compromising to no avail, you’ll need to decide how important it is to you that your child is insisting on wearing pajamas instead of daytime clothes. How much is it really going to matter if they are in jammies while running errands with you? To put it simply, just allow your child to wear their pajamas.
Even adults are dressing increasingly casually these days. Wearing joggers, yoga pants, or sweatpants daily has become the new norm for us grownups, even when we’re working, shopping, or dining out—not just when we’re exercising. From that perspective, how is letting your child wear jammies that different? Eventually, your child will likely move on to some other obsession equally as likely to drive you up the wall.
For many children, clothing choice is about control. The world can be a scary place for younger kids, who may find pajamas comforting. Moreover, picking out their clothes is one of the first ways children begin to express their independence. As parents, we’ve all been there. At one time or another, pretty much every parent has wanted to hang a sign around their child’s neck that reads, “I picked out my clothes today!” If you decide to let your child wear their jammies, the number of sympathetic smiles will far outweigh the side-eye glares. Remember to take a few pictures to share with your child when they are an adult and have this battle with their own children.