Does your child create a tantrum every time you try to get her ready? Does she refuse to wear your selections, and insists on wearing the most inappropriate clothes?
Recently, I had an interesting experience when I was getting my four-year old ready for play school. Every morning, I would invariably find myself short of time as I rushed and tried to get her ready in time. As I would pull out something suitable to wear, she would regularly test my patience by refusing to put it on. We'd argue, she'd throw a tantrum, might would prevail and I'd finally get her out of the house, sulking and late. Then one day I decided to let her select what she wanted to wear. To my surprise, she picked out something fairly appropriate. I helped her put it on, and for the first time after ages we reached her play school on time!
Children of preschool age have a developing sense of independence. They start having preferences in matters of eating, sleeping and dressing up. They now wish to make their own decisions. This may sometimes leave parents angry, and in some situations, embarrassed due to their inappropriate choices, but these decisions are very important for a child's budding personality. Letting your child choose her clothing gives her a chance to learn self-expression and experiment with her independence. Sometimes a certain choice may seem inappropriate, but that is not the point. As your child grows up, she will learn to make better decisions. She will also learn from her mistakes, and will thus learn faster.
In addition, when you respect her decisions, she develops self-esteem, and if you just bypass her wishes, her confidence gets undermined. So be patient. Don't laugh if your daughter pulls out her fur coat and wants to wear it in the middle of summer. First, ensure that your child's closet only displays weather appropriate clothes, so you don't encounter such a situation. If by chance she still finds that old coat somewhere and wants to wear it, let her. She will take it out herself when she feels hot, and she will not select it again. But if you have made a big deal about how she should not wear the coat in this weather, and that she will be sure to remove it after a while, don't be surprised if she insists on keeping it on and sweating it out just to be proved right.
It is far better that you approach the situation by trying to be understanding instead of authoritative. After all, it is not about proving yourself right.
At times, your child may refuse to wear something that is not very comfortable. You may think she looks adorable in it, but oversized dresses, too much detail, itching labels on the back or uneasiness while walking or playing can make a child reject a dress. So, while buying clothes, select easy to wear clothes like pull-ons, clothes with big buttons and pants with elastic waists.
Children sometimes like to dress up like people they admire. It could be a comic character, a friend, mother or father. Sometimes, if a child gets a complement about a particular outfit, she may want to wear it more frequently.
Here are a few tips to help your child dress better without being authoritative.
Remove unwanted dresses from your child's wardrobe so she doesn't pull it out and demand to wear it.
Only weather-appropriate clothes should be accessible.
Never rush your child while dressing up as this can confuse her. When in a hurry, give her two or three choices, so she settles for one.
And finally, before you take your child's heightened assertiveness in dressing up as a rebellion, remember that this is just a passing phase and not a deliberate attempt to embarrass you or overthrow your authority. This expression of self is a must for her at this age.