27 answers

Picky About Clothes

My three year old knows what he does and doesn't want to wear and makes it very clear. A couple examples are that he is still wearing his boots with no snow in sight and insists on wearing jeans every day. I am trying to "pick my battles" and I was wondering what your opinions where on if I should let him pick out his clothes or say this is what I picked out, end of story.

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So What Happened?™

Thank you for your input. I have decided to set times that I have say in his clothes (like for church) and the rest of the time let him pick it out. If we are going somewhere I will bring alternates, like his shoes instead of his boots, in case he wants them. Anyway, basicaly, I decided not to stress about it.
The funny thing is my 4 year old daughter, who has always let me have say, got dressed by herself today while I was in the shower. I came out to green and pink camo pants with a orange flower shirt and she was so proud, I just said "great job."

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My daughter started dressing herself at the age of 2. I wanted to tape a paper on her everyday that said "I dressed myself!" because she looked like such a ragamuffin. Now she is ten and a fashion plate all on her own. When I would tell my boys (now ages 12 and 13) that their clothes didn't match, they didn't care, but they do now. It is just part of growing up. I totally disagree with the mom who wants to make every decision for her children incl. what movies they want to watch. Why are they not allowed to have an opinion??

1 mom found this helpful

I always let my kids pick their own clothes. It was very interesting at times, the not matching, haphazard outfits, but they enjoyed it, and I believe it has helped give them a more sense of self worth.

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Hi B.,
I'm with ya!!! My son wore his boots yesterday because he felt like it. I don't worry to much about it. Every once and awile I cringe a little because he doesn't match or looks ridiculous. LOL!! He is very receptive when I tell him that it doesn't match and to try again. Usually the second time around it does match. My son will be 5 in August so he is a little older. I think that around that age I would pick out 3 shirts and 3 pant or shorts and let him pick. I like that he is independant. I wouldn't worry about it. Any person that has kids will probably laugh and know that they have been there. Good luck.
Chris

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I totally disagree with the mom who said he needs to wear what you tell him. These are little people, not robots. My taste in clothing is not the same as my sons, even at 3 years old. I can tell him that he needs to pick long/short sleeves or if he needs to pick something nice for church...but why would I want to micromanage his every decision? We are supposed to be teaching our kids how to be grownups making good choices and yes, that starts with simple logic like what to wear. What does it hurt me if he wants to wear blue instead of the red that I grabbed?!?! I say, as long as he is not whining/fit throwing/arguing, then this is a battle best left unfought! My son wore boots the other day when it was warm enough for no coat...silly, yes but only to us grownups who think we need rules!! :)

~L.

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B.:
I read your update. There is a great book called "Aura Soma". It explains about colors...when a child picks out a color combination that we don't think matches it is really about an expression of what they are feeling inside or on a subconscious level. There are many color combinations and excellent interpretations of them. It may help you understand yourself and children better. Children have no say in our society...they are told what to wear, when to get up, to go to school, all types of structures....unfortunately these little flowers are trimmed and structured to be "picture perfect" instead of allowing them to grow in their most natural, creative, and individual way. I have my daughter who is 2 1/2 and needs to change her outfits min. 5 times a day...maybe she needs her independence and maybe she is expressing how she feels...it is very frustrating since I am alone with her and my 7 month old son all day...like I have nothing else to do but a fashion show, but on Saturday when we go to Temple it is my decision what she wears and that is the end of discussion...she needs appropriate attire...so I call them her "Shabbat Pretties" and now she knows that we are going to see all of her friends and to hear the Torah. It works in our house.
Good Luck with everything.
L.

2 moms found this helpful

I had this problem with my 5 year old when she was three, she would want to go outside in 90 degree weather with her winter boots on. I would get into heated discussion with my 3 year old every day about these boots. One day I went to work and discussed it with my co worker, an older lady who told me of the story of a child being kidnapped at Disneyland. The mother would get into stressful discussions about her daughter and these pink rain boots the child wanted to wear all the time The child had been kidnaped and the kidnappers took the little girl into the bathroom shaved her head and dressed her like a little boy. The only way that the mother and police ended up recognizing the child at a distance was from the pink rain boots. After hearing the story I was in awe and every day my daughter wanted to go outside in these hot winter boots I would let her. I would take an additional pair of shoes along (she was claiming her identity). Naturally she grew out of it.

2 moms found this helpful

My daughter picks her clothes out every day. Sometimes several times a day.. but I actually encourage it! I would rather her know what to wear... now this winter when she put on a tank top if we were at home it was ok... if we were heading out we put on a sweater over top.

L.
www.HealthyFamilyHome.com

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Some are more picky than others... My 3 yr old is currently obsessed with a turtleneck that has race cars on it...
I let him pick out his own clothes... kids and really old people are not looked down on if they don't match clothes wise... its only us middle people that are looked at weird if walking thru the store wearing a tennis shoe and a slipper... lol
He's practicing what his style is gonna be and exploring his independence. I would say that the only time to really be firm about it would be times of importance... Like if he wanted to wear swim trunks to a wedding he was the ring bearer in... etc...

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You do need to pick your battles and I don't see why this would be a battle...let him wear what he wants unless it's shorts in a foot of snow. You could maybe suggest a few options, but he should beable to pick his own cloths. With 4 kids I'm thrilled when even one of them can handle the getting dressed task with out my help!

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Personally, I'd go with 'pick my battles' - if you find his clothes embarrassing, try wearing a button or t-shirt that says 'he dressed himself today'...

My husband often got overly-involved in what our kids were wearing, and it was always about the mythical 'what other people will think.' I figured if they were clean, modest and in no danger of dire weather consequences, it really had nothing to do with me -- or the mythological 'thinkers' in the crowd of judgemental onlookers.

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Have you tried picking out a couple of things and letting him choose between those items? I do that with my 2 year old, who also can be very particular about whating to pick out her own stuff. Since she started that, I started picking out 2-3 things and letting her choose between those items. If she asks for something else, I tell her that what she is asking for isn't one of her options for today. At first, we still had some issues - and occasionally she still disagrees, but gets over it much more quickly when I say 'that's not one of your choices today - which one of these do you want?'

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Well, I missed this, but really want to have my say!

With my first son I bought all color cordinated clothes for him. By the time he was 3 he would pick out a green tee shirt, green seersucker shorts and green socks etc. After he got his first pair of cowboy boot these went on with his coordinated clothing!! Or not! I have pictures after just getting out of the bath--undershorts (maybe) gun and holster, boots and cowboy hat. Both of my sons wore their cowboy boots with shorts all summer long.

When my daughter was three she went thru the summer wearing all her pretty petticoats under one dress with maybe her favorite tee shirt on top of it all. The sweat didn't bother her one bit! "Oh, what price Beauty"

My youngest son didn't care what he wore are who picked it out. (very often it was big sister!)

My grandaughter went thru the same period of outlandish garbs--dressing herself up. One of her friends in kindergarten wore the most outlandish outfits you can possibly imagine after her mother got smart and gave up the morning battle.

All adults now, well dressed and emotionally sound.

I haven't read anything on this---50 years ago we just went with our gut and our mom's advice--but I believe this is one of the ways a 3 year old can feel some control in his life. A normal healthy child begins early on to test his control over situations in many ways. Choice of clothes is --in my humble opinion--one of the easiest to deal with!

When they get to be teenagers they will go thru this again! You will really hate it then. However, I have realized that when they grow up emotionally their clothing choices will usually follow.

So support their choices in the small so the battles --maybe --wont be so hard in the big ones.

Good luck and God bless all you young mothers rearing your children in a drastically changed and threatening society. Give them lots and lots of love and don't sweat he small stuff. Too soon they are gone!

1 mom found this helpful

I always let my kids pick their own clothes. It was very interesting at times, the not matching, haphazard outfits, but they enjoyed it, and I believe it has helped give them a more sense of self worth.

1 mom found this helpful

There is a 15 year difference between my two older sons and my youngest one (all now grown). I always chose the clothes for the older ones, bought things in certain color ranges so no matter what they wore, it "matched". Over time I came to realize how silly the idea of matching is. Who says boys don't wear pink? Why can't you wear purple and orange together? What's this thing about plaids and stripes. These are just rules someone thought up, like no white shoes after Labor Day. My youngest son once needed new tennis shoes so we bought a pair of yellow shoes and a pair of turquoise blue shoes (same style) and his favorite thing was to wear one yellow and one blue as if they were a pair. So what???? He also went through a time when he would only wear camaflouge (sp) clothes including underwear.

My "methods" didn't make much difference. All three are very well dressed and appropriately dressed men (and stylish). Funny though, my youngest son is very picky about what his daughter wears.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter started dressing herself at the age of 2. I wanted to tape a paper on her everyday that said "I dressed myself!" because she looked like such a ragamuffin. Now she is ten and a fashion plate all on her own. When I would tell my boys (now ages 12 and 13) that their clothes didn't match, they didn't care, but they do now. It is just part of growing up. I totally disagree with the mom who wants to make every decision for her children incl. what movies they want to watch. Why are they not allowed to have an opinion??

1 mom found this helpful

Hi B.,
I'm with ya!!! My son wore his boots yesterday because he felt like it. I don't worry to much about it. Every once and awile I cringe a little because he doesn't match or looks ridiculous. LOL!! He is very receptive when I tell him that it doesn't match and to try again. Usually the second time around it does match. My son will be 5 in August so he is a little older. I think that around that age I would pick out 3 shirts and 3 pant or shorts and let him pick. I like that he is independant. I wouldn't worry about it. Any person that has kids will probably laugh and know that they have been there. Good luck.
Chris

1 mom found this helpful

Dear B., Children under the age of seven are better of not to make their own decisions. The parent is the one to decide for them. They look up to their parents for guidance. How do they know what is appropriate? They have to stay children as long as possible. That means that their parents need to be more responsible, more grown up. In our culture it is very difficult because we have lost the natural instincts. I found parents beeing so insecure that they leave the choices to the children, because they think the children know more than they. If a child knows more than you then who is the authority?
What do you want to eat, what do you want to wear, what movie do you want to see, where shall we go, what do you think of ....? Many times I ask myself who is the adult here? You are the roll model to your child. How is he/her going to learn to become a parent one day. This is the best way to raise children into insecure adults. The psychologists need people like that, because they can not follow their own common sense. Dear B., take the authority into your own hands, even if you are sometimes insecure. A good book I could suggest is,
"You are your child's first teacher" I do not remember the author's name of hand. If you are interested I can find out her name. Love, B.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't let my son pick his own clothes out but if he started wanting to I think it wouldn't be a problem. Just give him some choices of yours. Unless he picks out something inappropriate for the weather outside let him wear what he wants to. My son also wants to weat his boots all the time. So now I give him a choice do you want to wear your boots or your shoes, he started picking out his shoes. just give him choices. yesturday we went for a walk and he insisted that it was going to rain and he needed an umbrella. He walked all the way around the block with the umbrella open. It gave me a laugh and some of the neighbors as well.

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Although this issue has been resolved for you, I just had to share this story about my middle son, Aaron. From the time he was really little, Aaron had definite opinions about what he would and wouldn't eat or wear. At the age of 4, he discovered boxers and that was that. No more briefs (I had just bought a bunch of new Spiderman briefs)! I decided it was more important that he dress himself, and anyone who understood kids would understand why he was dressed that way! Two of his most memorable outfits were red Roper cowboy boots(he was REALLY attached to those!), blue, green, and yellow Batman shorts, and an orange t-shirt. It was HILARIOUS! The other great outfit was the time my family came to see me at work and Aaron (about 7 at the time)was wearing his red Roper boots (of course), red sweatpants, a blue muscleshirt, and his red winter coat! He is now 17 and continues to have definite opinions about what he'll wear, but he looks nice and doesn't even care about the expensive clothes. He's turned into such an incredibly neat guy (he always was, but you understand) and is very handsome. Look at it this way...someday you'll have hilarious stories about your son's outfits (and hopefully pictures to demonstrate them)! Enjoy his little personality. They grow up WAY too fast! P.

For the most part, I say this isn't worth your energy - let him decide (within reason). Some options are to let him choose between 2 outfits you chose - or if you pick the pants, let him choose the shirt. Sometimes, you'll probaby have something in mind (special occasion or what not), for those times negotiate on the small things or hold your ground. You can give him warning of the days prior that on Sunday you want him to wear this, but today he can choose.... Just some possible options! For day to day, when it doesn't matter, it's probably not worth the arguement.

You said it best when you said- "pick my battles" ! Depends on where you are going, but for the most part, I think letting him wear his boots is harmless. You can always tell people how much he loves them if you think they might be wondering what are you doing still putting them on him! And if you are going somewhere special,I've always rewarded (or bribed, whatever you want to call it!) my kids if they would see things my way for a while. I feel it's important to let kids be themselves, and give them as much independance as possible, as long as they are'nt harming themselves or anyone else in the process!

I know you keep getting advice after posting what you decided to do. Just thought I'd throw this in... My 2y/o is picky about his clothes as well, he also thinks he needs to wear a jacket still. One thing that would help, and clear up room for summer clothes, pack all the cold weather stuff (jeans, coats,etc) away in a tote. That way at least he is picking clothes for the right weather ; ) I leave out 2 pairs of jeans just in case the weater gets crazy. But it helps make room in the drawers for summer stuff, and my son also won't look so odd, or over heated wearing a coat and jeans in summer!

I worked at a lcoal preschool for 2 years. I have seen a few parents let the children choose their own clothes, Wearing them to school, and after seeing a few of the choices (poka dot shirt with camo pants) we didn't make a big deal about it and after a few weeks the child's warerobe was back to normal. Mom did have the child wear something nice for picture day.
I wouldn't make mountains out of mole hills.

Good luck,
D.

My son is 2 1/2 and I ran across something similar just yesterday. He had on his shorts and a green shirt, I told him to go get his sandals. He came back with his boots. He told me that they match, which they did since they are green john deere boots! Who can argue with that!?! I have given him choices in the past, but learned early on to limit it between say 2 shirts/pants/shoes. Now I understand seeing kids at the store with costumes on way past halloween etc! I like to give him his independence when I can. Of course, if we are going to church or something, I will make him where what I think matches!

Hi B.,
One other thing you can do with your son on Sunday and special days is to put out two outfits and let him choose. I had to do this with my son because otherwise he would have a "fit". H wanted to be involved in the process and in control of it. One day he went to Kindergarten in a blue, white and yellow shirt and green and red plaid pants...my only thought was ..I hope the teacher knows he picks out his close. This son also went through a stage of not wanting elastic at his waist so I had to get another type of pants for a while. He will probably like to wear jeans for a long time. My son still mainly wears them with a solid colored t-shirt":)
H.

He needs to wear what you tell him. A three year old does not know what is best for himself. He does know that he enjoys being fussed over and fretted about when he wants to wear boots in the spring. So let him be the fusser wearing the clothes you picked and remember stem the tide of his taking control over your decisions now because it will only gets harder as he gets older.

OMG! I must have missed this one, but boy am I in your shoes right now! My son will be 4 July 6th and he only wants to wear jeans. He only has 3 pair and I'm already putting patches on the knees of the ones he got for Christmas. Now that the weather is warming up, he found a pair of his jean shorts and is wanting to wear them! I've comprimised by letting him wear the shorts under other pants. Oh what a mess he is somedays! However the plus side is, since he wants what he wants, I tell him to go put it on if he wants. He's become very proficient at dressing himself. I love being able to tell him it's pj time and he goes and gets them on. He's also starting to choose other clothes now, too. Like I said about the shorts...So, I guess this phase will pass like the changing weather. I've also been able to get away with saying "sorry the jeans are all dirty and you'll have to choose something else, until mommy gets a chance to do laundry" Funny, after about a day of no jeans, he's offering to help me do laundry.:)
Anyway, you are not alone. Most days I just have to giggle at my son's determination and I beam with pride over him. Look at all the things he will master: dressing, undressing, buttoning, zipping, clothes coordinating, matching, advanced thinking about what the weather will be outside, snaps, shoe tying, ...I'm sure there are many, many more!

My son is raising his 3. He gives them choice days. The other days, he decides. It works well. I always had rules with mine, and they included, days that mom needed to pick, or times I needed to choose. The other times, I allowed them to choose, and that gave them independence. This is a phase of the many you will go through the rest of their lives, flexibility is the key about things that are not unsafe. There are many things where you will have to put your foot down and battle. Over the yrs, it really wears you down.

I missed your request when it originally came out. Someone made a great suggestion to me once. This is to let him pick out of 2 or 3 already matched sets. You can put them in gallon ziplock bags and he pick which bag he wanted to wear. This way he gets a choice, but at least it matches. Just a thought. Personally I have given up on matching, but I thought this was a nice solution if you were worried about what he is wearing. The other question I have is if he is picky because of sensory issues? If so you might want to have this checked out, especially if he is sensitive about other things too. Hope this helps.

I always picked out my son's clothes as a kid and now he is eight and I still pick out his clothes. He will actually finish his shower in the morning and wait for his clothes... Something is wrong here. We are trying a new tact now.

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