How To Get Your Child Dressed (And Avoid Going to War in the Process)

child getting dressed

As parents, we’ve all been there – the morning battle over what to wear to school. Despite having a closet full of appropriate clothes, it’s not uncommon to find your child showing up at breakfast in a mismatched outfit that makes you cringe.


Or perhaps you meticulously selected an outfit the night before, only to find yourself still convincing your child to put it on come morning. The struggle is real and can be a daily source of frustration for parents and kids.


But Toley has arrived with some tips to navigate those morning wardrobe battles with love, allowing your child to express their interests and make their choices while still wearing functional clothes.

Create Outfits with Your Child's Input

For younger children, one effective approach is to create outfits together. Gather matching pants, shirts, and socks, and clip them together on one hanger. This way, your child gets to choose a complete outfit, and you can ensure it won’t be a fashion disaster. Moreover, make sure the clothing rod in their closet is at a kid-friendly height, allowing them to reach their outfits independently. This instills a sense of capability and independence, boosting their confidence.

Respect Sensory Preferences

Every child is unique. Some may be sensitive to things like itchy tags, bulky seams, or uncomfortable fabrics. If your child strongly objects to wearing a particular item of clothing due to sensory discomfort, it’s essential to respect their feelings. Remove those clothing options from the mix to avoid unnecessary battles. Remember, it’s about making your child feel comfortable and confident in what they wear. When they feel good in their clothes, it can positively impact their overall mood and self-esteem.

Manage the Environment

While you can’t 100% control your child or their clothing choices, you can control the environment. If certain clothing items are off-limits (like flip-flops in February), don’t engage in arguments about them. Instead, simply remove them from their closet or drawers. When these items are no longer available, they stop being a problem. Consider organizing their clothing into sections, with a designated area for school clothes versus play clothes. Empower your child to choose from the school clothes section, ensuring they dress appropriately for the day.

Embrace Independence

One of the most effective strategies to reduce power struggles and foster independence is allowing your child to make clothing choices. While you can offer guidance on color coordination, it’s crucial to remember that beauty is subjective. What matters most is that your child feels empowered and in control of their day and that the clothes are appropriate for each activity. Giving your child the freedom to select their clothes can help counter the perception that parents dictate everything. It provides them with a sense of positive power and promotes self-sufficiency. Plus, it reduces morning dawdling. Even if their choices occasionally result in mismatched outfits, don’t worry. Most teachers appreciate parents who support their child’s need for independence and self-expression. Mismatched clothing can be a charming symbol of your child’s growing autonomy.