Developing your children’s sense of style is important. They’ll also need good grooming and hygiene habits as they grow up. It is also a fun activity for them to engage in. They can start small by dressing themselves independently and gradually get better at it. It will help them build their confidence and decision-making skills.
Encourage Independent Dressing
Dressing alone is a big step, especially for kids who struggle to do this with their disability or autism. They might need some hands-on assistance initially, but it’s best to let them work out the kinks themselves. Try encouraging them to do this while sitting down, and have them start by putting on their socks, then moving on to shoes, and then pants. It might take a while for them to be able to do all of these things, but it’s worth it!
When they’re ready, try having them sit down to dress themselves and narrate each step as they go. It helps them learn the words for the parts of their clothing, like ‘putting your arms in your sleeves,’ and gives them a sense of control over the process. It’s important not to correct them too much, though – if they put their shirt on backward, encourage them to look in the mirror and figure out what needs to be done next.
Give Your Child Plenty of Options
Most 3- to 4-year-olds are wannabe dictators grasping for control wherever they can, so give them lots of little choices. For example, ask them to choose between two dresses from Janie and Jack. It helps them build decision-making skills and boosts their autonomy. It also teaches them to observe how colors and patterns complement one another. Plus, you can teach them to add flair and style by customizing their clothes with ribbons, studs, patches, badges and fabric paints.
As they age, encourage them to seek inspiration from fashion magazines or runway shows. Seeing how their favorite celebrities sashay down the runway in a couture outfit can help them build confidence and inspire their look. Just make sure you establish boundaries. Children are notoriously fickle, so a fashion trend they love this week will probably be tossed in the trash the next.
Let Them Seek Inspiration
The best way to help your children find their style is to let them explore. While it may be tempting to correct them if they put their shoes on the wrong feet or wear their shirt flipped upside down, they must be able to make decisions independently and learn from their mistakes. Embracing their sense of style will build their confidence, self-expression, and independence. They will also develop an eye for aesthetics and learn what colors, styles, and clothing types they feel comfortable in. Teach them basic styling tips such as putting on jeans first and then adding a busy top and pairing shoes that complement the color of their bottoms.
Let Them Play Dress-Up
One of the best ways to encourage your children’s sense of style is to let them play dress-up. This classic childhood pastime allows kids to root their imaginative stories in reality for a short while, which helps develop their problem-solving and self-regulation abilities. It also encourages them to explore different identities by trying on other clothes and playing roles, such as a doctor or parent. Keep a dress-up box or chest with various costumes, accessories and props (such as kitchen utensils, hats, scarves, shoes and dollhouse furniture) in your child’s room so it is always easy to access. You can even include stuffed animals to act as patients or customers at their doctor’s office or paper and pencils for writing orders at their restaurant. You can find inexpensive costume items in thrift stores and consignment shops or use scrap paper and old clothing fabric to create unique designs. Rotate the items in your child’s dress-up box so they are constantly bringing out something new.