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Encourage your Child to have their Own Style

26/06/2013 | Child Health, Room to Grow | by Catherine Godiva

If you’re a young parent you’ll be interested to know that children start to develop their own personal style in early childhood. As soon as most children begin  showing signs of their individuality you’ll notice that they begin to have preferences for different colours, different patterns, different shapes and even different smells. The trick as a parent is to be able to give your child a little bit of room to engage with their natural affinities and let their style evolve on its own.

Of course, it’s possible that your children are tweens or teenagers  already and, if this is the case, there’s really no need to worry as you can simply start exactly where they are and help them to grow  into their own style from any point in their life.

One of the best places to start as far as giving children confidence in their ability and in their own style is to allow them to dress themselves. It has actually been shown by scientific research that children that are encouraged and allowed to dress themselves will develop a keen sense of accomplishment and, before long, will definitely be able to master the basics. Not only will the actual physical process of getting dressed build their motor skills, it will help them to get plenty of practice getting ready fast and prepare them for later in life when they are more rushed.

An excellent idea to help a child build their own sense of style is to encourage them to play dress-up and, as best as you can, trying not to put your opinions or bias in the mix. If your son is giggling with delight as he runs around the house in a tutu there’s no need to panic. The same goes for your daughter wanting to wear overalls and boots. What you want to do is  allow them their freedom to explore and trust that the natural order of the universe will take over.

Once your child is old enough to have a decent conversation with you, you can start pointing out and talking about different types of fashion and how, for example, some colors go well with others and some don’t.  One of the best ways to incorporate fashion advice into your child’s life is to incorporate it into their studying. For example, if your son is studying basic geometry you could talk about how different patterned shorts  go well with some  shirts but don’t go well with others. You could explain to your daughter how a full skirt might not look so good with a bulky sweater but will look great with a fitted top.

Of course while you’re letting your children explore you also want to let them know that, when it comes down to the final decision of what they can wear outside of your home, that decision is yours. If your seven-year-old wants to go to school in his Iron Man Halloween costume you’re just going to have to explain how school is meant for learning and studying and how wearing his costume may be a distraction to the other children.

For older children, especially girls, a good idea would be to compromise with your daughter somewhere in the middle. If you’re much too strict about what she (or for that matter her brother) can wear, you’re bound to have problems in the future with a child who rebels against your strict ways.

 

For teenagers, keeping up with trends is something that, while not truly important, is important to them.  Getting a feel for the current styles that other children are wearing and sampling some of the newest trends is a great way to help your child explore the boundaries of their personal style. Also keep in mind that, if your son or daughter still doesn’t have a very strong sense of their own personal style, they may feel more comfortable blending in around other teenagers rather than standing out.

The fact is, children are very much like adults when it comes to fashion; very fickle. A fashion trend  that they adore this week will more than likely be tossed in the trash the following so try not to freak out too much. If you do a good job teaching them the difference between right and wrong, they’ll probably be able to figure out the difference between attractive and unattractive on their own.

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