Editor’s note: Welcome to our new series on encouraging self-expression through style. This is our second post (you can find the first one on balancing your style and your kids’ style right here) — we hope you find it helpful! Want to share your story? Let us know! —Kate
Each kid is unique in their own way. As they grow, their individual personalities will shine through more with each passing day. Our children will come to find things they both like and dislike and develop quirks about them that make them who they are. We have to remember that just because our children have come from us, sometimes their interests will be completely different from our own and that’s definitely okay. The same goes for their outward appearance. Fashion is a terrific way to help teach your kids confidence. It’s a balancing act because you don’t necessarily want to teach them that what they wear is more significant than the quality of their character. But style choices are a tool that can be utilized to teach independence and individuality.
Feel free to follow these tips to help your children express themselves through personal style in a healthy manner that helps with the growth of their self-esteem.
CREATE A DRESS UP DRAWER/AREA
Playing dress up is one of the best ways to teach personal style. Try setting up your kid’s own personal space with room for costumes, cute hats, pouffy skirts or even casual everyday outfits they can play around with and create what outfits they prefer. You can find little accessories like mini purses, hair clips, and necklaces for fairly cheap and hang them so they can play with the art of accessorizing. They are a fun way to show them how the visual of accessorizing outfits can change the entire appearance of an outfit.
GIVE THEM OPTIONS
On more relaxed days, allow your child to pick out her own clothing. Allow for free rein when it’s appropriate. it’s all part of the process to have hits and misses, so no nitpicking their choices. When free rein is not appropriate, you can lay out two or three clothing items so they can still have the choice of their outfit that’s within reason.
GIVE THEM TIME TO DRESS THEMSELVES
Especially if you have a little one, you know that it can be time consuming and hard to keep patient just to watch them take 10 minutes to put on their shoes. It’s all in good practice though that they dress themselves, rest assured. Prepare in advance if you need to be somewhere or are in a time crunch by everyone getting ready earlier to allow for more time.
CHECK OUT THRIFT STORES
A fantastic way to teach your kids how to search for hidden gems and find them at a bargain is a win-win! Plus the excitement of mixing and matching while so many random clothing items and accessories are all meshed in one place. I love to take my daughter with me to thrift stores and allow her to come across what she finds appealing and then head into the dressing rooms to dress up. Usually secondhand shops are more lenient thanks to the items not being brand new, so I naturally have less feelings of worry and anxiety for my daughter to explore and find what she loves.