Each occupation has a standard of dress. Lawyers wear suits. Personal trainers wear gym clothes and sneakers. Chefs wear hair nets and aprons. Lifeguards wear swimsuits and sunscreen. Chemists wear lab coats and protective goggles. Generally, the jobs where people get dirty, people dress to get dirty. Lawyers can wear expensive suits because they don't have to worry about mud, paint, or flying food.
One of a child's most important jobs is to play. If you want your child to play freely, you need to dress your child to play freely. Children cannot play without inhibition if they have worries about mommy being upset with dirty clothes. They cannot move confidently if they are wearing slippery shoes. They won't get enough outside play if they don't have weather appropriate clothes.
Unstructured Play Clothing Ideas
-Dress children in clothing that's okay to get dirty and stained. Stained clothes aren't ruined because those are the perfect clothes to save for messy play days.
-Buy inexpensive or second hand clothes. Hand me down clothes are even better. If you didn't pay a fortune for the clothing, it will be easier for you to be comfortable with your child getting dirty.
-If the appearance of stains does bother you, buy patterned and dark clothing. They hide stains better.
-Dress your child in closed shoes like boots or sneakers for outside play. A child is more comfortable playing if rocks and sticks aren't bothering his feet. I think most serious runners would agree that sneakers are the best shoe for running. If you want your child to run more, put your child in sneakers.
-Save fancy clothes for fancy occasions. Unless you don't care about the fancy clothes getting soiled from play.
-I don't dress my daughter in a smock for arts and crafts, but if you care about clothes getting dirty from art play, cover her clothes. Adult size t-shirts are good cover ups or you can buy child size artist's smocks.
-Buy weather appropriate clothing if you live where there is extreme weather, so you can enjoy the outdoors year round.
-In general, my preferred choice of clothing for outside play is long pants and a long shirts even in the summer. My daughter wears lighter materials in summer and heavier materials in winter. In summer, the long clothing helps prevent over exposure to sun, bug bites, and scraped skin.
-To prevent dirt being brought into the house by clothing, we change clothes as soon as we come inside or sometimes change them in the garage. We remove shoes before coming inside the house.
Don't forget that you need to dress to play too! I am not advising these dress rules all the time because I know a lot of caregivers take pleasure in buying adorable kids clothing. These guidelines are useful when your child is participating in unstructured, free play which can be active and messy; therefore, children need to be dressed to support this.
Next Tuesday look for Playful Parenting Tip #2 about toys.