Do your kids have clothing issues?  Blog, Article, Podcast, Video HomeSchool ThinkTank

Do your kids have clothing issues?

Have you ever heard these words from your child?

  • It doesn’t feel right!
  • It itches.
  • It’s too tight!
  • I don’t like it!

Hearing these words can be frustrating when you just want your child to get dressed. If this scenario sounds all too common, then you might want to keep reading, listen to the podcast episode, or watch the video below.

Do You Have an Out-Of-The-Box Child?

You might have a child who has sensitivity toward various types of clothing. Maybe your child doesn’t like new things, or maybe they don’t like surprises.

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It Took Me Years to Figure Out How to Deal with My Daughter’s Clothing Sensitivity Issues

Hi! My name is Jackie, and I’m the host of the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast. On my podcast, we talk about both homeschooling and parenting.

I know I’m not alone when it comes to kids who are picky about their clothing, so I thought I’d share this story. If you find yourself feeling frustrated by trying to find clothing that your child will wear, hopefully, this article can help.

When one of my daughters was young, she had some clothing issues. For her, new clothes weren’t exciting, they were stiff, scratchy, and well – new.

My youngest daughter preferred her older sister’s hand-me-downs. However, when her older sister started wearing out her clothes, and there weren’t many hand-me-downs, our problems around clothing were exasperated.

It literally took me YEARS to figure out how to handle this problem effectively.

If you have children who are easily agitated about how their clothing feels, it’s my hope that the method that we eventually stumbled upon will work for you too.

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Have You Ever Felt Like Your Child is Ungrateful?

Have you ever felt like your child is ungrateful when you bring home new clothes for him or her?

Do you ever feel embarrassed when you’re shopping with your child?

When you’re shopping, does your child say, “I don’t like it,” to every item you hold up?

Does your child immediately want to remove any new clothing they try on?

If you’ve experienced these clothing issues, you aren’t alone.

While clothing sensory problems might not be the first thing you want to visit about when you get together with friends, believe me, there are many parents and children who are struggling with clothing issues like this every single day.

If you are feeling like your child is more difficult than most kids when it comes to clothing, you might want to get more information about sensory processing. I know when my daughter was young, the term sensory processing wasn’t even in my vocabulary, so getting information about it wouldn’t have been easy for me.

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Parenting Kids with Clothing Sensory Issues

Before I proceed, I’m going to preface this by acknowledging that if you don’t have children who struggle with sensory issues, this might seem absolutely ridiculous.

Some people will say, “that child needs to be put in her place.” I completely understand. As a mother, I’ve had these feelings myself. However, there is a point when you realize some methods don’t work with some kids, so you need to do something different to get a different result.  

If you don’t have a child who has difficulty with change, loud noises, or clothing that doesn’t fit right, feel free to quit reading right now.  However, for those of you who won’t judge and can understand this parenting dilemma, please keep reading or listen to this podcast episode.  This just might help you.

How to Understand Sensory Issues & Minimize Meltdowns

Understanding your child’s sensory needs is the first step toward creating the calm and stress-free family you long for.

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Kids Who Are Easily Overwhelmed

Some kids are easily overwhelmed. They might not like new foods, new places, lots of noise, or new clothes.

Certain children take lots of time to get used to new things, even something as seemingly simple as new clothes.

As Dayna Abraham, the best-selling author, says, “Your child isn’t giving you a hard time, they are having a hard time.” This is key, your child doesn’t want to be struggling. It really would be easier for them just to get dressed and go play. For some kids, though, simple things are difficult.

Itchy, Scratchy, too Tight Clothes

For kids who struggle with a sensory processing disorder, clothing can be problematic.

To put this in perspective, have you ever done a potato sack race? Can you recall how the burlap sack feels scratchy?

Have you ever tried on a pair of shoes that were too tight and just didn’t fit right? When you try on uncomfortable shoes, you want to get them off quickly.

If your child is truly having challenges with clothing, this is probably what new clothes feel like to him or her. For kids who struggle with sensory issues, clothing is often too tight, scratchy, and just doesn’t feel right.

Also, some kids just balk at nearly anything new and anything that they aren’t used to. This can include new clothes. So, while new clothes might seem great to you, for your child, new clothing might be an unpleasant occurrence.

Listen to this Podcast Episode about Clothing Sensitivity Issues

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My Method for Dealing with Clothing Issues

If you have a child who struggles with getting new clothes, then you might want to try your own variation of the process I explain below. Here’s what I know, this worked for my child.

If you are at your wit’s end, I suggest trying something similar to what I did. It literally took me years to figure out this approach to dealing with clothing issues.

I believe that this method could save both you and your child years of frustration.

Years later, I can say that what I did worked because we don’t have these clothing issues anymore. Granted, my daughter is much older now, but we resolved these issues when they could have continued to be very problematic.

Here’s How I Minimized Clothing Issues

Below, I’m going to explain the approach that was effective for my child when getting her new clothes. Also, be sure to listen to this podcast episode for some additional tips.

If you have a child who is resistant to new clothing, I believe that this strategy can help you and your child. I want you to know that if you can relate to me, there is hope.

Like most parents, I simply shopped for my daughter when she was very young. However, as she got older, I tried to shop with her. Quite frankly, this was mostly miserable for all of us. At times, shopping with my daughter was downright embarrassing.

It was very difficult to get her to try clothing or shoes on, and she hated nearly everything. As soon as she would put something on, she would exclaim that it was too itchy or too tight. Really, there was a nearly 0% chance of her liking any new clothing.

Throughout her elementary years, shopping with my youngest daughter was too difficult for everyone, so for the most part, I quit doing it. Instead, I shopped for her alone, bought the clothes, and brought them home.  

After years of experience, I finally learned that she would initially hate most of the clothing and that returns were inevitable. It might take my daughter a couple of weeks to decide what she was willing to wear.  

Eventually, I realized that when we bought new clothes, we went through the same process nearly 100% of the time. Once I realized this, I was able to eliminate most of my frustration and emotion from the process of getting new clothes for my child.

I simply knew the process and what to expect. I also came to realize that my daughter wasn’t just ungrateful, she truly found lots of clothing uncomfortable and was actually very slow to warm up to new things.

Over the years, I ultimately realized that my child had sensory processing issues. For her, getting new clothes was not a pleasant experience.

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What to Do When Your Child Says, “I Hate This…”

I knew ahead of time that my daughter would initially hate almost all of the clothing I bought her.  While this used to make me angry, there was a time when I finally understood that getting used to new things was difficult for her, and there was some clothing that she genuinely couldn’t stand to wear.

This used to really aggravate me.  I couldn’t understand how I was raising such an ungrateful child.  Where was I going wrong?  

I now understand that my youngest daughter had some sensory issues. I really don’t think she wanted to hate most of her clothes.  As Dayna Abraham says in her course, Calm The Chaos, “Your child is not giving you a hard time, they are having a hard time.”  My child was having a hard time, and I needed to help her.

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

Our Process for New Clothes

  1. I presented the new clothes.
  2. She looked at them and hated the new clothes.
  3. I calmly said, “Alright, they’ll be on the washing machine if you change your mind.”
  4. My daughter would go get the new clothing a day or two later, look at it, hate it some more, and return it to the washing machine.
  5. For the most part, I learned to be neutral in my external response (even though I felt irritated inside).
  6. A few days later, she would get the clothes again, try them on quickly, hate them some more, and return them to the washing machine.
  7. I maintained neutrality in spite of wondering if I was raising an ungrateful child.
  8. Eventually, she would try them on again, wear them for an hour or so, hate them some more, and return them to the washing machine.
  9. I learned that having a “whatever” attitude was the only way through this. Before long, my daughter would get used to some of the new clothes.
  10. The process kept repeating itself until she was used to some of the clothes and just wore them. I eventually returned what she wouldn’t wear.

A Hint about Helping Your Child Get Used to New Clothes

Here’s something I figured out.  For many years, my daughter wore hand-me-downs. This was actually a blessing in disguise. My youngest daughter’s clothing issues became more apparent when we had to start buying her new clothes.

Here’s why I think new clothes are difficult for kids with sensory processing issues.

  • Feel: The hand-me-down clothes & shoes were softer and broken in. As a result, they were more comfortable for my youngest daughter.
  • Time: The hand-me-down clothes frequently hung in the closet long before my youngest daughter needed to wear them. As a result, she was able to get used to them by seeing them before she needed to wear them.
  • Choice: When my daughter tried something on and didn’t like it, there was no pressure to wear the item or decide if she liked it. She could simply remove the clothing and wear something else. They were hand-me-downs, so I didn’t really care if she wore them or not.  I likely didn’t even notice that she chose not to wear some clothes.
  • Overwhelm: Kids are easily overwhelmed by too many choices.  When I brought home too many clothes at once to try on, my daughter was overwhelmed by the choices. As a result, indecision and angst would take root.
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A Final Thought about Clothing and Kids

I want to end with this thought.  Imagine that someone told you what you should wear each day.  

I imagine my mother coming over to my house, looking in my closet, and saying, “Jackie, I really love how you look in that dress.  You are going to wear that today.”  

I would probably think, “I don’t want to wear that dress today.”

Geez, I might even throw a fit if my mom insisted that I wear that dress. I want to wear my yoga pants, and that’s that.

End of story!  

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