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 or listen to the podcast episode about this topic.
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.
Listen To This Podcast Episode
You can listen to this episode of the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast nearly anywhere you can find podcasts. It’s episode #117. If you’re an Apple user, you might prefer to listen on Apple Podcasts. Otherwise we recommend listening on Spotify or here.
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It Took Me Years…
Hi! My name is Jackie and I’m the host of the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast. On our 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, read on, 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. At our house, she 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 in an effective manner.
If you have children who are easily agitated about how their clothing feels, you might want to keep reading. I think the method that took me years to figure out might be able to help you too.
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Have You Ever Felt This Way?
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? 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 have felt this way, you aren’t alone.
While clothing issues 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 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.
You Might Be Thinking…
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, or 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.
What You Need To Know…
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 to just get dressed and go play.
For some kids though, 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 shoes that are uncomfortable, you want to get them off quickly. If your child is truly having challenges with clothing, this might be what new clothes feel like to them. Also, some kids just balk at nearly anything that is 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.
This Worked For Us, Maybe It Can Help You…
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 us. If you are at your wit’s end, I suggest trying something similar to what I did. It literally took me years to figure this out. I believe that this method could save both you and your child years of frustration.
At this stage, I can say that what I did worked because we don’t have these issues anymore, and we haven’t for years. Granted, my daughter is much older now, but we were able to resolve these issues when they could have continued to be very problematic.
Here’s How I Minimized Clothing Issues
Here is what I eventually figured out, and if you have a child who is resistant to new clothing, then this might help you, too. I want you to know that if you can relate with 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 and at times it was 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. 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. For her, getting new clothes was not a pleasant experience.
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 likely 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
- I presented the new clothes.
- She looked at them and hated the new clothes.
- I calmly said, “Alright, they’ll be on the washing machine if you change your mind.”
- 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.
- For the most part, I learned to be neutral in my external response (even though I felt irritated inside).
- 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.
- I maintained neutrality in spite of wondering if I was raising an ungrateful child.
- Eventually she would would try them on again, wear them for an hour or so, hate them some more, and return them to the washing machine.
- 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.
- 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.
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 what I think was different.
- 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.
A Final Thought
I want to end with this thought. Imagine that someone told you what you needed to wear each day. I’m imagining 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!
Well…I always share more in each podcast episode than I can in the article You can listen here…
More Articles & Podcast Episodes You Might Like
- Learn more about the Calm The Chaos course & parenting membership here.
- Have you ever felt so frustrated that you found yourself yelling? This podcast episode shares step-by-step details that you can implement to help yourself stop yelling.
- Are you thinking about homeschooling? Read THINK HOMESCHOOL: Live & Learn Your Way!
- Learn how you can follow the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast.
- Learn about Dayna Abraham’s online parenting group for parents who have “out-of-the-box” kids.