Do You Let Your Kids Wear What They Want to Wear?

Supermodel Heidi Klum was recently criticized by media for allowing her daughters to wear high heels, but it didn’t faze her.

“If we go to a restaurant, they like to get dressed up,” she told Elle magazine in July. “It’s fun for them. So what if they hobble on their little heels for 20 steps from the car to the restaurant? As long as they’re good kids and they get good grades, they can wear what they want to wear.”

So in today’s share-everything, discuss-everything, social media world, this Klum episode begs a fair question:  do you let your kids wear what they want to wear?

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Somewhere along the way your child will discover the aptitude for getting dressed all alone, and you’ll slowly lose grip on deciding how they should look every day. But what’s too soon, and perhaps more important – will you have the gumption (as Klum does) to say anything goes?

Let’s face it, helping them learn to get dressed on their own is an important and fun milestone. It takes some of the heat off you, and helps them gain some much-needed independence. But all of that happens at a very young age. The very real next step is for them to decide what to wear.

That happens gradually as any child loves to play dress-up. But then you’ll need to teach them style and not only what’s appropriate, but what’s appropriate in certain situations. I mean, high heels may be fine for a restaurant, but you probably wouldn’t let a child wear that to a playground. Nor would you let your child wear a Lakers jersey to a funeral. If you have little girls, for example, they love to wear sparkly dresses and tutus, which might be fine most of the time. But will that Disney Store dress be good to wear during messy supper time? Will any of it work in the sandbox?

While there may be no right or wrong approach, perhaps our best piece of advice is to plan ahead. No matter who chooses the outfit, you could try doing it the night before to prevent any meltdowns when you’re in a big hurry to get out the door.

All of this practice will get you ready for the next big clothing struggle in the years ahead:  what to buy.

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Do You Let Your Kids Wear What They Want to Wear?

Tom Konecny is a dad of four children and husband to wife, Erika. Tom currently serves as a private consultant in writing, communications and marketing. In 2013, Tom founded Dad Marketing, a site dedicated to exploring the world of marketing to dads. He previously worked in sports marketing, served as an associate editor and writer for several publications, and directed an award-winning corporate marketing department. His first book, "DADLY Dollar$" will be published this summer, and he is c ... More

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