When It Comes to Clothes, 4-Year-Old Has a Mind of Her Own


HI! My daughter turns 4 in a month. She has a closet full of beautiful dresses but chooses the same 3 outfits of hand me down play clothes. Am I asking too much to choose her outfits? This was such a gradual fight, I didn't even realize I lost the battle of clothing her. Help!


Thanks for reaching out. I'm happy to tell you that you can relax on this one. Your daughter is not alone. Many children choose to wear the same outfits repeatedly. Actually, there are many adults who do the same. The reasons are varied. Just like adults, children know what feels comfortable. Familiar outfits offer a sense of security and, to a degree, confidence. Putting on a familiar piece of clothing also saves time and energy. There are many well-known, high-profile individuals (CEO's, tech gurus...) who are frequently seen in the same outfit. When questioned, it is not unusual for them to report that they simply like wearing the same outfit and it saves them from having to waste time and energy on decision making - which some consider a waste of brain power.

Currently, my 4-year-old granddaughter only wants to wear dresses. For quite some time, her preference was a princess costume and plastic heels. When the new school year started, the pre-school teacher let all of the children know that play clothes and tennis shoes were required. Problem solved!

Because your daughter is now in the season of Love and Authoritative Leadership, there may be times when "because I said so" may need to be enforced. If there is an occasion where she absolutely must wear a certain type of clothing (i.e., for safety reasons), tell her as much. Be matter of fact, the fewer the words the better.

The good news is that your little one will outgrow her current clothing choices (or possibly tire of them on her own). If she's like most children, it will be out of one phase and into another - so it goes with child-rearing!

Sharon Lamberth
Certified Leadership Parent Coach

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