Stick skinny models? Suits that cost almost as much as a compact car? Couture clothes that are completely inaccessible to anyone other than the glitterati? That’s not what fashion’s all about. Fashion can be about self-expression, independence and creating confidence. It’s these concepts that play to your child’s development. How exactly does fashion affect kids?
Expression and Individuality
As a parent, you want your child to be their own person. This includes being a confident, assertive individual who stands on his or her own. While wearing the same jeans as the other children do or wanting a specific brand just because the ‘popular kids’ talk it up isn’t exactly acting as an independent, letting go of others’ expectations and being unique is.
Letting your child pick out their own clothes from an early age teaches them that it’s okay to be him or herself. Instead of saying “no” to striped leggings under a patchwork skirt that’s paired with a graphic t or a superhero cape covering plaid flannel and shorts, you praise your little one’s creative self-expression. Your child’s clothes are like a canvas, and their choices show his or her most genuine self.
Confidence and Self-Esteem
Who doesn’t want to smile when they take a glance in the mirror? They key to making fashion a confidence-building experience is taking the pressure off. Even very young children pick up on society’s expectations for beauty and outward appearances. Your 4-year-old wants to have long, silken hair like Barbie or thinks he needs a tight shirt and mega-muscles like The Rock. Instead of adopting this type of attitude in the early years, you can use fashion to teach the opposite.
Encourage your child to wear what they feel comfortable in. This includes choosing clothes that physically fit and are aesthetically pleasing – to your child.
Problem-Solving and Creative Thinking
Science and technology aren’t the only areas that require the more critical of cognitive skills. Fashion is an art. Choosing clothes and putting together outfits requires your child to solve basic problems and, at times, think out of the box. Getting dressed requires your child to figure out which clothes match the weather outdoors and what pieces to wear at one time. Your child also has to combine different pieces, puzzling together one outfit from many parts.
Fashion also speaks to your child’s creative, or artistic, side. When choosing clothes, kids get a crash course in color theory while also exploring patterns and textures. This may mean deciding that a red shirt and blue pants do or don’t match or that a plaid button-down, striped cords and a checked hat are just too much when they’re all together.