Me: Common Amy, hurry up. Let’s get you dressed in this navvy one-piece and tie those noodle curls in a high ponytail with a navy band. Matchy matchy and cute ha…
Me: No? Not now sweetheart, we will be late for school.
Mini-me: (with folded hands and cute frown) Nooo, I want to wear a tutu skirt with a tiara on my head... Today is play-day.
Me: Now you know, you can’t wear that in school. Maybe you do want that C in class etiquette…
Mini-Me: (watery eyes) Tutu skirt.... else, I am not going...
Me: Put this dress on young lady or else no Garfield show on TV. You choose. Ha... (I am smart)
Mini-Me: Loud crying.......
Oh my gosh. I want to scream now. I have created a Diva...
Does this morning dressing battle look familiar to you? Before you open those windows to let the morning sink in, your kid's room sounds like a “cranky Sinatra”. It’s either the boys won’t take the extra jackets or your little girl is adamant over wearing the same nautical stripes top, three days in a row, (smelly but her devotion is admirable!)
Finally, you give in (coz, school bus won’t wait an extra 10 mins for god, let alone me...duh). And the kiddie tantrum wins. You wonder, how on earth other moms do it right. Their kids seem to be dressed appropriately most of the time and mine goes for a “color attack gone bad”.
Before you beat yourself up, know that your child’s tantrums getting dressed are completely normal.
Do not leave this “dress battlefield” retired hurt, (spoiler alert)—a child throwing a tantrum over getting dressed is an annoying(I know) but a common woe.
You can read some of the wardrobe war stories here, trust me they will make you feel so much lighter.
According to Child psychologists, as kids grow (toddlers and preschoolers) they develop a sense of individuality and personal preference over regular things like toys, food, TV shows, etc. Showcasing clothing preference too is a part of their independence and that way, you get to witness their unique personalities. (Maybe, you threw the same fit when your mom insisted on the knitted cardigan, you chose the disco print).
Follow these mantras (advised by experts and tested by moms) to get your kids ready without major tantrums. I promise, follow these and you get to keep your sanity…
Think a week ahead
“An hour” is all it takes to plan a weekly outfit. Sunday evenings can bring in boredom and a gloomy thought of Monday blues, why not be active and fix the dressing zone? Sort the clothes as per the activities, days and preference. Tops, socks, extra leggings, arrange it all with a cubby system. And if you think a particular outfit is making this “outfit bonding” go south, be patient. Make kids understand why wearing all neon is funny or fur is reserved only for special days. Trust me; your mornings will be much more peaceful…
Let the kids be busy-bee
Invest in a small checklist board and hang it in the kiddie room. Right from bathing, putting the toilet seat down to keeping the backpack ready, note it and tick it off for a day. Appreciate your kid’s sincerity and express the same by baking him a pizza for dinner on Friday or cupcakes. If the kid is busy finding out those books or socks, he or she is less likely to care about the clothes.
Respect your kid’s choice
Now, before you ask this million-dollar question of, what would like to wear today, there are fat chances of the answer being “alien and hilarious”. My Hermione scarf with a bat-girl top. Admit it, no one is quite prepared for this mind-boggling combo.
Play smart and learn the art of “framing your questions cleverly” like, Amy, pick one out of these two cartoon print tops. Elsa or Powderpuff girls? That way, she will have a sense of choosing her own dress and that Bat-girl top will never see a day until next Halloween.
Sometimes, it’s OK to let go
If he is insisting on wearing that Dashiki print t-shirt for his buddy’s birthday (you think it's print overloaded and your little dude will grab all the attention, not fair, today it is not his day), let him be. Think of it in a way that, he is excited about his buddy’s special day and want to dress up in a unique way. The formula is not to overthink as long as the outfit choice is not clashing with the seasons or ceremony. Okay, you can intervene only when you can’t take a little Super-girl for a wedding, that will be one hilarious insta-feed!
Nature is the best teacher
But, I don’t want to wear the jacket, because the unicorn on this t-shirt won’t show. It’s freezing outside and she won’t buzz. And, you have had a share of sleepless nights, thanks to the cough and cold two months back, not again, please.
Solution? Let her go without the jacket. If she experiences monster cold again which will make her home arrest, she will understand the point. Ditto for rains where your kid decides to wear faux fur dress and end up being called a “wet hen”. Chances are that the dress won’t appear again until it’s chilly again.
The reward, it always works
No, no not a trip to Disneyland or Lego castle set, but fun and educational rewards like play-dough, sand art kit, etc, basically a reward that reads humble and understated. Stephanie, mom of two boys is one happy soul, right now. Boys are taking in the idea of the shared closet and sometimes sharing of those tees too quite sportingly. They agree on the formal, plaid shirts for church recital over baseball jerseys now. All for a Camp night at the backyards on weekends. Marshmallows, stars and I am in bliss!
Outfit game? Sounds exciting
This one’s a winning trick if you have little girls; well because boys generally fuzz over an Oreo shake or something. Young girls love to check on mommy’s closet and occasionally you do find them dabble that red lipstick everywhere but on the lips. This is your chance to involve her in “who can choose the best outfit” game. For starters, you can choose two outfits for the next two days for her and let the little mama suggest you, mommy, you should wear that purple peplum top to work today. And if her choice is going monochrome, there is always a shrug to hide the fashion faux pas.
Expecting miracles? They won’t happen overnight
Preschoolers love to analyze things and change around them. Keep that curiosity nourished. Dress patterns, sizes and even the difference between boy and girl clothes, try giving answers in a fun, explanatory way. This way, it’s easy for you to help imbibe the “dress decorum” at an early age and the foreseen fits and tantrums can be kept at bay. And yes, it is fine to assist your 6 yr old in tying his shoelaces, coz admit it tying those bunny ears is quite a skill!
Good old Ultimatums
Harmless ultimatums work most of the time. It’s either this or nothing, especially when the clock is moving real fast. Greta, a mum of 4 yr old Missy, swears by this steely line, five mins are all you get or be prepared to miss the art class. Little Missy loves to paint but insists on wearing white fairy dress, tulle skirt over the tee-denims combo. I mean, I appreciate her sense of colors, patterns, she is my little Picasso. But, I am certainly not prepared for the color graffiti on those costly dresses! Fat chance! Art win over clothes!
Mamma’s, be smart, try these tricks before that mickey pajama find it’s way to the school…
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