How to Deal with a Child Who's Picky About Clothes: 4 Steps
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Pick your battles.

Is yours the child who insists on wearing her favorite pajamas or a princess costume with her cowboy boots all day, every day? Sometimes it's cute, but other times -- like when you're going to church or when it's time to wash those beloved duds -- it's downright frustrating. Children, like adults, have preferences. Some are more comfortable in sweatpants and others only want to wear dresses, some prefer stripes over plaids, and others insist on a particular color palette. Thankfully, there are ways to nip the nonsense in the bud.


  1. 1
    Before laying down a new wardrobe law, try to determine if her pickiness isn't actually an insecurity. That hat that she insists on wearing every day? If it makes her feel safe and secure, let it go. But if she cringes at certain textures, tags or if metallic snaps and buttons irritate his skin, you might want to read up on dermatological allergies or sensory processing disorders.
  2. 2
    Limit choices at home. If your child is overwhelmed by a staggering array of options in her closet, pare down her collection. Remove a few out-of-season pieces or holiday garb that might get interfere with her ability to make an appropriate choice and store them for later use. And if you're sick to death of your child wearing the same two or three outfits every day, avoid a power struggle. Make them disappear -- just temporarily, of course. Your 2-year-old might not even notice, but your 5-year-old might. In that case, explain that you're washing the clothing -- that it's your job to take care of her and make sure she has clean clothing and you'll return her favorite things to her when they're clean and dry. End of story. She'll have to adjust her expectations and choose something different. Who knows -- the neglected blouse and blue jeans might just become a few of her favorite things.
  3. 3
    Be the boss at the clothing store. When shopping for new clothing, yes indeed your little one's opinion matters, but don't let her clothing choices become your commandment. You are in charge. Just because she prefers the overpriced tutu with red sparkles over anything you select, that doesn't mean she has to have it. She'll be fine -- guaranteed. And if your child refuses to cooperate, you can always leave the store and try again another day -- perhaps she'll take your limits more seriously if she sees that his lack of flexibility results in an empty shopping cart and the end of an outing.
  4. 4
    Engage your child's participation in caring for her clothing. If you have a child who is so particular that she changes her clothes five times a day, chances are she isn't exactly returning each and every item neatly back to the dresser or closet. Teach your tot how to sort, fold and stack. If these tasks become her responsibility, perhaps she'll let go of some of that clothing control.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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