Fall Dressing for Kids
Fall is the most common answer when Americans are asked their favorite season. It’s a lovely interim between the summer heat and winter cold. Kids especially tend to enjoy autumn, with leaves changing colors and falling to the ground, Halloween decorations and pumpkins appearing, and the excitement of upcoming holidays.
Of course, fall is also a time for odd fluctuations in the weather and temperature. One day may be chilly and rainy and the next may feel like summer has returned. This can cause some turmoil when it comes to deciding how to dress—especially for kids who may not want to give up wearing their soft summer t-shirts for scratchy long-sleeved sweaters. Thankfully, there are strategies parents can use to ease this seasonal transition so that kids won’t mind dressing for fall.
Why Does It Matter to Kids What They Wear?
It really does matter to most kids what they wear. This can be puzzling for parents who know, logically, that their children aren’t dressing to go to work or make a fashion statement. Yet it’s easier to understand when parents realize that even very young children view their clothing as an extension of themselves. In a sense, many kids feel that they “are” what they wear.
In addition, some children have extra sensitivities when it comes to clothes. They may resist or even object to some or all of the following:
- Type of fabric or material
- Sleeve length
- Tight or loose fit (especially around the neck, wrists, and waist)
- Certain colors
- Certain designs
All of this can make dressing kids for fall a little challenging, especially when the weather is wet, cold, or unpredictable. Here are some strategies to help:
1. Power of Choice
Since kids view their clothing as a personal expression of who they are, giving them a choice in what they wear is a powerful strategy. This not only allows them some independence, but it encourages them to develop decision-making skills.
However, too many choices can be overwhelming and counterproductive. Therefore, it’s best to limit choices to two or three at the most. Depending on the circumstances, you can let your child choose between two jackets to wear, which hat they prefer, or an overall color for the day. Be sure to fully respect their choice and do not show disappointment or try to talk them out of it to avoid inflicting any self-doubt.
A good fall dressing strategy for anyone is to wear layers since the temperatures and weather conditions can change so quickly. This can help your kids transition to wearing warmer and/or more clothes as winter approaches. For example, if your child insists on wearing a t-shirt, you can build on that with a light sweater on top, a jacket, and so on. Then, if they become warm or cold, they can remove or add layers to stay comfortable.
3. Inside and Outside Rules
Another strategy for reducing conflict or misery when it comes to fall dressing for kids is to choose the battlefield. In other words, if parents allow their children freedom in what they want to wear (and how much of it)--within reason--while inside at home, their kids are more likely to accept stricter rules for dressing when out in public. You can even make a checklist for “outside” clothing rules and keep it by the door so that everyone takes a fun moment to be sure they have appropriate attire before leaving the house.
4. Be a Good Model
Children are very observant, even when it seems like they aren’t. This means that they will notice how their parents are dressed for fall weather in addition to their own clothing. If your child is buttoned up to the chin and you are wearing shorts and a t-shirt, your child is certain to question the logic and fairness behind such different standards. Therefore, it’s important that parents model the same dress code to the best of their ability. This will help avoid confusion and inconsistency.
Though it’s understandable that parents worry their kids will be too cold, exposed to precipitation, or just not dressed appropriately for the fall season, it’s important to remember that kids are very resilient when it comes to handling weather. In fact, researchers have found that experiencing different temperatures and weather conditions helps kids gain a better understanding of nature. In addition, the experience of being under or over-dressed can enhance a child’s problem-solving skills and help them make good choices in the future as far as what they are wearing.
One of the best ways to encourage your child to have a healthy, resilient, and independent sense of self is to offer activities and experiences that help them master different skills. At Cognisprings, we support parents and their children with games, books, and puzzles that are thoughtfully designed, educational, and unique. Our products promote intellectual stimulation, growth, and self-confidence. They allow families to create memories of togetherness and enhance a child’s understanding of the world, including adapting to changes in their environment. We believe in providing options for screen-free fun, healthy personal and cognitive development, creativity, and exploration.
Enjoy the fall, y’all!