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Practical clothing for children is definitely age dependent – what’s appropriate for one age may not be so great for children of a different age. Potty training, learning to walk, playtime… All of these things require a little extra consideration when it comes to dressing a child.
Here are some things I regularly see parents dress their children in that were clearly not practical or appropriate for the age and setting of their children.
If you are doing any of these things – please STOP. Make things easier for yourself, your child, and the other adults in your child’s life who may have to undo twenty buttons, five zippers, and a ball and chain in order to change your baby’s diaper.
You may be thinking “that’s what I wore as a child, why shouldn’t my children wear them?” I also grew up wearing overalls, and they’re great!
But not for potty training children.
This can be one of the most frustrating articles of clothing for that two-year-old that is trying to become independent about using the toilet and they can’t figure out how to get their overalls off and on in time. Many an accident occurred in my classroom because of overalls.
Along the same line, many dresses are not practical for potty training children. While it’s true, they can be easy to get on and off, the problem I frequently had with dresses is that the back would fall into the toilet while the child was sitting on it. Ewww!
Short dresses work better than long dresses. If you really want your child wearing a dress during her potty training period, I would suggest going with a shorter one.
The other problem is putting dresses on infants who are just learning how to walk. They end up tripping a lot on the hem, which can get discouraging. Shorts, or tighter fitting pants tend to be your best options for almost-toddlers.
Onesies with buttons
I definitely have a list going for when I have a child:
Onesies that I would and would not dress my infant in.
The ones where you have to yank one leg out in order to change the diaper, ones with really confusing snaps, and ones with buttons. Buttons were by far the worst, because unlike with snaps, you can’t just pull and have the whole bottom come undone. You have to individually unbutton each little button (all the while being kicked in the face by a screaming baby), then carefully button them all back up again at the end.
No thanks! I’ll stick with snaps and zippers.
This is just the most ridiculous thing for young children. I have never met a small child who managed to keep their flip flops on all day long. Get them some good old fashioned sandals that Velcro across the top for a nice snug fit they won’t be falling out of every other step.
While I’m at it, for some reason, children’s Tom’s are also terrible shoes when it comes to falling off all the time. Shoes that stay on the best? Boots (bonus: they have a hard time pulling them off themselves), and kiddie Converse.
That’s what I like to call those big poofy coats that your toddler just gets swallowed up in. Poor things can barely walk, much less climb or play! And when they fall down (admittedly, in a plush and comfortable manner), they can’t get back up!
Children are more active, have a higher percentage of body fat, and have faster metabolisms than adults do. Unless you live in Wisconsin or Michigan or (heaven forbid) Canada, your child probably doesn’t need a marshmallow coat. But of course, that is always a judgement call for parents to make in the interest of your child’s safety and comfort.
Fancy boutique outfits
There is certainly a time and a place for your child to be dressed up. Baby dedication/baptism, church, picture day, holiday parties, etc.
It just always strikes me as silly to see children show up for daycare in frilly little dresses or monogrammed collared shirts. It’s not like they have anyone to impress there. They are going to be crawling around on the floor, colouring anywhere they can, and running around on a dusty playground.
And don’t get my started on the potty training age, where a child might go through two or three outfits in a day.
Stock up on t-shirts and shorts – you’ll spend less money and have an easier time with laundry. After all, who really wants a dry-clean-only suit for a two-year-old?
I hate to bring this up, but it really has to be touched on. I’m going to try to do it in the most delicate way possible.
Please, do not dress your young child like a skimpily clad teenager. No, she does not need a mini-skirt. No, she does not need a backless dress. No, she does not need a crop top.
Let your child be a child. These are your daughter’s foundational years where she begins to learn about who she is and what her place in the world is. Do you want your daughter’s self-worth to be in her looks starting from preschool?
Focus on who she is as a person, what her strengths are.
Pull-ups with no tabs on the sides
Why anyone still buys these is beyond me.
Children can just as easily get the up-and-down motion with a side-tabbed pull-up as they can with the no-tab kind. And when you (or your child’s daycare teacher!) go to change a pull-up, who really wants to take off everything that child is wearing from the waist down? This is especially frustrating in winter, when there are plenty of layers.