DRESSING a nine to 12-year-old can be a bit of a challenge. By this age, your pre-teen is probably informing you how to dress. How can you keep your child’s wardrobe stylish, affordable, and modest? You can learn to dress your child and avoid fights over clothing.
Let them have input in their daily selections. At nine to 12-year-old, a child is old enough to be making decisions about what kind of clothes they want to wear on a daily basis. You can always do a check before they run out the door to make sure nothing obscene is happening.
If you are in the habit of setting out your child’s clothes before school, now is a good time to stop. Let them make the decisions about what they need to wear.
If it’s OK for something to be in the closet, your child should be allowed to wear it when they wish. What your child wears to school should be up to them, within reason.
Take your child shopping. If your nine to 12-year-old is suddenly really into clothes, it only makes sense to let them have more input in what kinds of clothes they own. At this stage, it may be appropriate to go to the store once or twice a year during the school year, and give your child the opportunity to pick out a few items within your budget.
Don’t just buy them clothes. Sudden growth-spurts can make it tough to dress a pre-teen, so you need to make sure items fit properly and flatter your child. Take them to the store with you.
Some nine to 12-year-olds may be perfectly content to let a parent continue picking out clothes for them, while others may suddenly have a new-found interest in what’s “cool.” Both of these are normal reactions. It’s still good to get some input.
Head to the mall for new clothes. Pre-teens usually start to have more of an opinion about wearing cool clothes, for a lot of options in a relatively small space, it’s a good bet to head to the mall. This can help a pre-teenager feel more mature.
Let your kid explore different stores and try on clothes. As long as something is appropriate and within your budget, let your child have some input. Make a day of it.
Hand-me-downs might be an essential part of staying in budget for your family, but try to get the kid new clothes every now and then. You can still shop on a budget. Make it clear what you can afford to spend before you head to the mall, and let your child make decisions about how to spend that money.
Get some sensible ground-rules. Tell your pre-teen that they can begin to decide for themselves what they can buy to wear, provided that they can demonstrate responsible restraint in both costs and types of clothing. Set a few basic ground rules that you’d decide on together. These may include things like:
No overly revealing or crude messages on clothing.
Nothing over a certain price point.
Clothes must be clean and fit properly.
Talk to other parents. Pre-teens will often become obsessed with clothing, suddenly.
As a parent, it can be hard to balance your desire to provide for your child and help them fit in with your inability to figure out what a middle-schooler thinks is “cool.”
For help, try reaching out to teachers, parents, and other adults with kids that are the same age as your own. This can be an invaluable resource in helping you to decode the signals your child is giving you.
If your kid comes home suddenly hating all their clothes and wanting to wear something unusual, talk to other parents. Find out if their kids have done similar things lately. It could be a new trend you don’t know about.
Find out about what kinds of rules other parents have for their own kids’ wardrobe. Try and find out whether or not you’re more or less strict than other parents. That doesn’t mean you need to change, but it’s helpful to know.
Teach your child how to do laundry. If your 12-year-old is tearing through shirts and pants at a great clip, your laundry is probably going to start to pile up.
To help your child start to make sensible clothing decisions, it’s also a good idea to teach them how to manage laundry at your house.
Develop a system whereby your pre-teens can help in some way with this chore.
Even if you don’t want your child doing laundry alone, let them know the process. Teach them how to do it and let them help. This will show them that wearing a T-shirt once and then throwing it in the hamper probably isn’t necessary.
Keep an eye on the big picture. So your pre-teen wants to wear combat boots and a frilly pink skirt at the same time to church. Is this actually going to cause a problem?
You may struggle to think of a pre-teen’s clothing choices as making much sense, but at this stage your child is struggling to find an identity and relate to their peers.
Try and give them the benefit of the doubt and do what you can to make this transition smooth, instead of combative. Your ideas about what is appropriate and inappropriate can be flexible. — Online.