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Ugh, it’s August again….
That means we are drawing near to the kid vs parent tug of war. So why not surprise them with an argument free trip. Set your personal rules and boundaries for them and join their fun. That’s right, join them!
It’s fall and time to shake out your own wardrobe while you’re at it. Clean out all the pieces that no longer fit or carry use. You can sell them online to add to your budget. Having a clothes limit helps curb overspending or closet clutter. Have your kiddo help you decide on which pieces are keepers and which are givers. This is a great tactic to loosen the grip on that old shirt that doesn’t fit them anymore.
Have Appropriate Boundaries
Having individual identity is essential for personal growth in kids/teens. (BUT) So is knowing where certain types of clothing is prohibited. Check your school dress code prior to shopping and outline your own personal rules. Even if you may not agree the school dress codes entirety, it’s best to adhere to the standard set. Take up any concerns with the appropriate departments privately. (Kids can pick up on adult static, and mistake it for an acceptable reason to be disrespectful to another adult) ie: parent has cross words to say to the teacher, in front of the child. The child then loses respect for the teacher because the parent “clearly doesn’t think highly of them“. That’s something hard to reverse once it’s broke.
Do Not Argue. Period.
Give one warning then leave. I’ll allow my child to have emotions, but it had better be a moment, and not a staged performance. There’s nothing wrong with cutting the trip short. They will tire of walking the stores and get discouraged, grumpy and moody. Watch for the queues that they’ve had enough. On the flip side of that, kids also need to learn that they will not always get what they want. We as parents also need to understand why they act they way they do. Kids don’t have the life experience to understand what it’s like to work for what they have. They depend on you to buy what they need, and to a kid, having cool clothes is a need. Try to understand that to them, that cool t-shirt is the equivalent to the new dress or whatnot that you wanted at the store. Depending on your child, they may not even want to go shopping in the first place, so let them pick the stores (within reason). You may even be able to buy online without going anywhere. (Lucky you!)
Find Basics First
There are a ton of beautiful trends everywhere you look. Unfortunately, a lot of these trends are only that, trends. (Remember the 80s and 90s). Remind your child that having mostly basics will help them get ready in the morning. The accessories will define their personal touch. Easy mornings should be a key seller to any kid. Before you take to the stores, browse Pinterest for some fashion ideas for the store. This gives you both some idea of what is being sought out and a huge help to keep on track while shopping. Let them know the budget and what portion will be for each. (Shirts, pants, shoes, ect). Keep track of what types of clothes are bought. You don’t want a bunch of summer type stuff if you live where it snows most of the school year. It can easily be overlooked when it’s 80+ degrees outside.
Get a Healthy Amount of Accessories
Kids change their minds a zillion times before breakfast. We all know this…we were kids once too. What’s cool today might not be tomorrow. Having a good choice of extras for the school year will help alleviate the “I have nothing to wear” song and dance. Try hat’s, scarves, bracelets, watches, do rags, necklaces, jackets, purses, ect. This can be pointed out in Pinterest pins. Most of the fashion sets are put together by their accessories. This is a great way to keep from over buying in the clothes section. (Think: less laundry for you later) You can buy open containers for easy access/decision making in the mornings. Display hats/purses and other bulky items on walls as a décor addition to a child’s room to help also.
Remember Their Age
Kids grow at different maturity rates, and that should be taken into account. It’s our job as parents to determine what clothes are good for our kids. Some enjoy cartoons, some like metal bands, others just like solid colors that fit. Encourage them to dress as they are comfortable, not just how others do, or how you like. As parents, sometimes we forget that our “mini-me’s” have their own taste, and we just aren’t it. (Remember your parent doing this….”omg, you’d look so good in this, let’s see if it fits.” ….All the while your silently praying the store magically gets evacuated)
Shoes, Shoes, Shoes
Buy comfortable shoes! Your kiddo will be doing a lot of walking. To school, to class, from class, to lunch, to home…get that kid shoes that make sense. They don’t have to be sneakers, they just need to stay on their feet and not carried around because their tootsies hurt. Best piece of advice I ever got and I use it to this day. “Don’t buy them just because they are cute in the store.” Many posture and back problems stem from our shoe selection. Especially growing kids. They also don’t need eight pair of shoes either. Boots, sneakers, dressy shoes all in neutral and that should be about it.
If you already have a favorite store, you may even give them a list of “needs” and let them shop online with your final approval prior to payment. This gives them a little privacy to feel in control but not so much freedom that they racked up a $500 bill with only “Angry Bird” t-shirts and shoes. You aren’t done either. Keep a portion of the budget open for things that they will need as the year goes by. Odds are your child, like mine, grows insanely fast. Don’t try to buy an entire wardrobe for the whole school year. Do another small trip during winter break to get through spring. You’ll thank me (or flip me the bird) later.