Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.” –Albert Camus (French author, journalist and philosopher)
Times have changed, today’s generation is independent and wants to do things on their own and even if not on their own they want to follow their choice. Children love to wear what they like. Choosing their own clothes can raise their self-esteem and make them more independent and thus more confident. I can testify the same thing as a mother of two, whose world revolves around the choices of her boys from choices for food or choice of toys.
My younger one Daksh Sahlot, age 5 is very particular about his dressing. Surprisingly, at the age of 2 as well, he was very fussy about clothes if they were casual or not of his colour choice.
Since he was young, an infant to be precise, I wanted to dress him in colourful T-Shirts with cartoon prints and neon colours bottoms or pyjamas. But I had to surrender to his choice of wearing formal clothes, a full sleeve shirt and Jeans/trousers. He used to see his dad going to office in formals and wanted to replicate the same every day while dressing up.
Even during these COVID -19 lockdown times, when neither we go out or nor anyone comes, he still dresses up formally including wearing socks 😊 He is that crazy and particular about his looks and appearance.
I tried very hard to attract him with his favourite cartoon T-Shirts or bright colours etc. but all efforts in vain and I finally understood, he will be happy only in clothes of his choice and I had to let go my wishes/ego to dress him up the way I wanted!
I recall having some heated arguments also with children to force them to wear clothes which I think would suit them perfectly. They used to wear it in pressure but were not happy or comfortable.
While my younger one is formal wear freak, my elder one, age 9 would be happy to wear pyjama’s even if going to a party. He hates wearing formal wear and always wants to be in loose casual wears. On a lighter note, he wants minimum clothes to be on his body😊
Soon, I realized their happiness should matter to me the most and clothes are just an exterior beauty, I need to emphasize more on their internal one. They were now on their own to choose what they want to wear and for how long. They even discarded a few clothes which they never wanted to wear. I had to accept that as well.
Some of the benefits of letting your child pick up their clothes are: –
- Time -Saving: Every day it was my duty to keep their clothes ready, today before going to bath, they choose their clothes as I am busy doing other household chores. In these pandemic situations, each minute saved is each minute earned. Also, once they grow or would go to hostels or camps, they need to do these small things on their own.
- Independent: Children don’t depend on parents to choose clothes for them. They should know what suits them and in which type/fabric of clothes they are comfortable. Sometimes, loose clothes might look clumsy, but it is very comfortable for children to run around and play. You may try to make them understand the pros and cons of wearing certain fabric in case they are too young to understand it themselves. I like organic fabric which can be comfortable yet stylish. Berry Tree is one such brand that offers it.
- Exposure to Technology: Online shopping is a new trend. Children are aware of all popular websites for online shopping for clothes and apparels. They sit with you, browse various categories and choose the best for them. It may not be the best choice according to you but for sure better or the same as what their friend has 😊
- Sense of achievement & accomplishment: Nobody in today’s world wants to be governed or like to follow laid down rules unless it’s mandatory. Choosing clothes of their choice, comfort and colour gives them confidence and a sense of achievement. More so, if someone compliments them, they are flattered and may continue wearing that piece for a whole week even if its full of their sweat and is stinking and you are behind them to give it for washing😊
- Quality Engagement: Children will learn to choose, will learn from mistakes, maybe sometimes their friends would mock at them for wearing a certain type of fabric/apparel. This might change their taste or choice of choosing clothes, this might make them dress up better than before. For 5-6 years I tried hard to make my elder one wear formals but only recently when someone in his class complimented on his looks in formal wear, he has agreed to wear it for a few hours.
- Value for Money: Children should learn the difference between need and desire. A uniform T-shirt is must buy but not a “Chota Bheem logo” T-Shirt. As a parent, we need to keep options limited, so that children learn to live in whatever they have and become less demanding. They should understand that we can buy for them on certain occasions or when there are sales/discounts.
- Learn to Organize: Children should be the sole custodian for maintaining their clothes. They need to keep their wardrobe clean and organized. If not, they will have to face consequences as clothes may get torn apart or dirty etc. and they might not be able to wear it again. It will help them understand keeping things tidy and organized.
- Living your Dream: Its no more a secret, but yes, I am a big Mahesh Babu fan, during the lockdown, I have seen all his movies. I sometimes try to dress up my younger one in his style. He also wants to dress up like him. On a lighter note, something which I cannot wear in my age, I try to make my sons wear and enjoy seeing them.
So, to sum up, letting children allow to pick what they want to wear is the first step towards making them confident & independent.
About the author of this article-
Abhrekha Jain Sahlot, the name is derivative of her parent’s name ( Abhay & Rekha).
She is a mother of two and is full of life, energy and enthusiasm.
A gold medalist computer engineer she has been working with top MNC for over 13 years now.