Child Friendly Clothing

By Sandrine Lescure

     One of the greatest time savers (and confidence boosters) for a family with kindergarten aged children is child friendly clothing.  I know – believe me I know – those mini Stan Smith’s are adorable and that little belt with the Transformers buckle is irresistible! 

     But you know the clichés about looking good being hard work, or even painful?  As adults we laugh, and think of gym time, stilettos, and so on, but clichés exist for a reason, and in the case of children, this one can be true in different ways. 

     First, when children can not manage something as personal and immediate as their own clothing, it causes enormous frustration and often, a feeling of failure.  Picture the perfectly toilet trained child with the amazing belt buckle having an accident in his pants, because he couldn’t get them down in time, or the child with the cute runners tripping over the laces, feeling clumsy, and maybe being injured.  Conversely, a child who feels confident in basic self care is mentally and emotionally free to move on to their academic lessons.

     Second, when children can’t fasten or unfasten their own apparel, the adults in their environment must do it for them.  This can be time consuming for families trying to get out the door, let alone for a teacher in a classroom of 25 + children.  When would lessons take place if before and after every outdoor recess, the teacher spends 20 minutes or more on laces, snowsuits and so on? 

     So what kinds of fastenings are appropriate for your child?  Here is an article from an occupational therapist to help you when choosing your child’s clothes, here is a quick chart outlining which dressing skills children can be expected to acquire (with appropriate instruction) by age, and here is a great article on this topic from a Montessori perspective, where we believe encouraging independence is paramount.