So your child is finally getting to the age where she wants to start dressing herself. Your initial response is probably to jump for joy at the thought of not having to wake up early to help your little girl find and put on the perfect outfit, but wait: There are a few important parenting decisions you’ll have to consider with this new change. You’ll need to come prepared for this life change with a few helpful tips, which allow you to support your child’s independence while still exercising your leadership and authority as a parent.
1. Supporting Creative Expression
Sure, they’re just clothes. But fashion is also a form of expression that can be its own creative outlet for your little girl. Encourage your child to express her unique personality through fashion and try to introduce her to a variety of different styles. Kids may not have the best understanding of color coordination and style just yet, so try to encourage them to follow the guide of kid-friendly, but well-coordinated outfits found in catalogs and fashion magazines for some inspiration while choosing outfits.
2. Ensuring Age Appropriateness
Kids are always in a hurry to grow up, and the influences of older celebrities and fashion icons might provoke younger girls to dress older than they are. Although you want to encourage free expression, it’s also important that you teach your daughter to dress appropriately for her age and for the occasion. Every parent will have an opinion on this, but as a general rule, you’ll want to discourage clothing that might be too revealing or makeup that has been applied too heavily.
3. Shopping with Your Budding Fashionista
Even if your child gets to pick her own clothes now, chances are, you’ll be the one paying for them. Instead of handing over your credit card for her own mall adventure, why not go on a few shopping trips with your budding fashionista yourself? Shopping is not only a great bonding experience, but also a perfect opportunity to enforce a few restrictions about what your daughter can and cannot wear. In addition to scoping out the latest trends, you can teach your daughter valuable lessons about how to dress for her body and how to choose the most flattering cuts and patterns overall.
4. Having Fun with Accessories
Some girls may want the independence of dressing themselves, but don’t know where to start when it comes to actually putting an outfit together. Mixing and matching clothing items is an engaging fashion experience, but kids tend to have more fun with fashion when they incorporate girly accessories. Accessories for tweens and teens are inexpensive, fun and more versatile than clothes alone for expressing oneself. During your shopping trips, don’t forget to make a few stops for outfit-topping accessories to a perfect finishing touch.
As a parent, you have to draw the line between allowing your daughter to be independent and expressive without crossing your personal boundaries and expectations. Whatever your rules might be, make sure to explain to your daughter exactly why you encourage her to dress up to a certain standard. Remember to let your daughter know about all of the fun fashion avenues she can explore, rather than harping too much on unacceptable clothing items, so she can look forward to exploring the exciting world of fashion on her own.