It’s been a great couple of weeks for me. I celebrated a major birthday and my gift is humungous (to quote one of my grandson’s favourite words). With my hubby, John, I will be spending a few days in Paris followed by a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest.
And it’s going to be a real holiday, a break, a change of pace. Yes, I am un-plugging. I will have my phone but my laptop will sit on my desk just waiting for my return. I plan to return re-energized and ready to take on the world.
As a result, this is my last newsletter until November 3, 2016. Of course, you can always visit my website, click on the blog button and read as many past posts as you wish.
Meanwhile, today let’s take a look at encouraging our kids to dress themselves.
He Dressed Himself
Logan has been dressing himself since he was three years old. The other parents at the daycare are quite envious. In a conversation one day, the other parents asked Logan’s Mom for the secret.
She reminded them of the day a few months ago when Logan showed up at Daycare with his shirt and pants on backwards. His Mom said she wondered what he was doing but decided to let it be and say nothing. But the staff knew exactly what was going on. They took one look at his strange and likely uncomfortable outfit and without missing a beat said, “Logan, you dressed yourself!”
Logan’s Mom said that she was glad that she decided if he wanted to be a backwards kid, she would let it happen. And it turned out there was a very good reason. If he had shown up with his outfit all tidy and frontwards, nobody would have ever guessed that he was the author of his look.
The point is that sometimes we get so fussy about how our children look, that we take over and don’t let them do the job their way.
Toddlers and preschoolers love colours and will happily mix and match their outfits in ways that cause most parents to squirm. “I can’t take her out looking like that!” is the most common reaction of parents who see their children show up at the breakfast table wearing plaids with stripes and polka dots or as many different colours as they can arrange. There are also the children who will layer a filmy dress over jeans and put a gaudy sweater on top of all that.
If you want your kids to take charge of dressing themselves, stay quiet. Trust me, not one adult at daycare will think you had anything to do with this bizarre outfit. As they get a bit older they will settle down and learn how to mix and match in a manner that will make you proud.
Choose clothing that is easy to put on. Elastic waist pants, shirts with large enough neck openings, jackets with large size zippers and boots that slide off and on with ease will all make it more likely that your little one will dress himself.
It is a process. Your toddler can’t dress himself but should be allowed to do as much as possible. So hold out his sweater and let him put in his arm while you are there to give guidance as needed. The more you let him do for himself, the sooner he will want to take over the task on his own.
While you want to give your child some control; letting her choose what to wear from all her clothing can be overwhelming. Help her choose from a limited wardrobe. It’s often easier to have her choose her morning clothing in the evening and lay them out ready to wear.
Involve your child in some of the shopping. With preschoolers you want to make it a short trip. So, if you are going out to get a t-shirt or two bring her along and let her choose. The trick is to only offer a few options that fit your budget and the type of shirt she needs and then let her figure out which she wants to wear. When she has had a say in her wardrobe, she’s more likely to want to wear it and will be keen to put it on for herself.
Kids need to dress in a way that keeps them warm and comfortable. But we can go a long way to helping them become independent when we allow them to take charge of their outfits.
Of course, there are times when there isn’t as much flexibility such as a wedding or funeral but you will find that when you haven’t been arguing with them about their outfits on a regular basis, they will go along with the needs of the situation when it matters.
Digital Books Make Parenting Information More Accessible
There are times when digital is the perfect answer and let’s face, on a holiday having access to hundreds of books on one small tablet is ideal. I will have my kindle with me on the trip.
There are lots of times when a busy parent would like to be able to simply read and my books are digital and make it easier for you to take a look.
Two of my parenting books started as print versions but the third is only digital. The first two are also now in digital format. Who’s in Charge Anyway? talks about roots. It provides a clear road map for parent to focus on the tough but rewarding job of raising children to be responsible, self-disciplined adults.
But Nobody Told Me I’d Ever Have to Leave Home talks about raising children to become capable young men and women.
I am told the books are down to earth and common sense as well as easy to read. If you want some basic parenting tips and information these books are a good place to start.
How Can I Bring Kathy to My Community?
I offer keynotes and workshops, have written books and have ongoing newspaper columns, books, blogs and newsletters.
And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call:
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
I look forward to working with you for your professional development, workplace wellness or parenting education event.