10 Ways to Dress Your Kid in the Morning

By Guest Blogger Ginny Olson, author of the blog www.MothersRest.com

You know how it goes, “No shirt? No shoes? No service!” So we mommas gotta rally the troops and dress ’em up real nice before we kick ’em out the door. But getting kiddos dressed requires ninja moves: the trick you used yesterday, ain’t gonna work today.

If you’re like me, and mornings aren’t your thing, here are TEN WAYS to dress your kid.

1. Give ’em a choice.
You pick two shirts and let cutie choose his favorite. Sometimes the response is “none of the above.” Which translates to “Mom gets to pick.” This may be met with compliance or annoyance. If annoyance, double down and repeat: Here are two shirts. Which one do you want?

2. Tell the tiny tyrant to dress herself.
Does this ever work? When I do my best cheerleading chant about how my guy can pick out his clothes, he looks at me bored and picks out a book to read instead.

3. Stop hoarding clothes.
Buy darling seven shirts and THAT’S IT. If your mother-in-law gifts some monogrammed thingy to your kid, take one of the other seven shirts to Goodwill. The less shirts the better. Because tips #1 and #2 are easier if there’s only seven shirts to pick from.

Otherwise, you run into this…

~ Scenario A. Child rummages through 20 shirts. Child gets overwhelmed and throws shirts on ground. Child runs screaming out of room.

~ Scenario B. You rummage through 20 shirts. You show child each shirt until child picks out one. Only, it goes more like this:

Me: Do you want to wear this shirt?
Child: No, that’s not a school shirt.
Me: What about this one?
Child: No, that’s a Science Center shirt.
Me: What…? How about this one?
Child: My bear doesn’t like it.
Me: Does you bear like this one?
Child: No, he likes your shirt. So I’m gonna wear it. Take it off, mommy.

When all else fails, send them out the door in their pajamas!

4. Delay like hell.
When #2 leads to I’m gonna read this book, buh-bye, smile and say, “When you’re done, it’s time to put on your shirt.” Your kid’s sudden desire to read Shakespeare is validated and you get to stalk him a few minutes later with a clean, pressed shirt.

5. Embrace empathy.
Running late? Tell kiddo you know it’s SO FUN TO READ! And that you guys can read the book when you get home later. In fact, she can leave the book on the kitchen table to remind you when you IMMEDIATELY walk in the door. Then summon the spirits in Heaven and announce IT’S TIME TO GET DRESSED.

When you get home later, first things first: READ THE BOOK. You get sweet cuddle time with little lady. She learns you keep promises.

6. Hire a clown.
To distract dear one while you dress her. When the clown’s gone, she’ll discover she’s wearing a sundress, sandles, undies, and bow.

7. Stop the matchy-matchy.
I get it, you want the pink shirt with the to-die-for pink shorts. So you’ve safety-pinned all the clothes combos together for ease. (Ease for whom? Kiddo can’t manipulate those spikey devils. Which means you’ve given yourself another morning chore – bravo!)

Pumpkin will look just as darling wearing a 1970’s mustard-yellow shirt with those shorts. Plus, if pumpkin goes to school with my boys, you want her to wear the hideous top. Because she’s going to come home covered in red clay or puke-green fingerpaint (because she HAD to have ALL the colors).

This goes for socks, too. Matching socks are overrated.

Enforcing matchy-matchy only leads to one place: POWER STRUGGLE CENTRAL. Nobody wants to go there. Especially if you have to leave the house in, oh, 20 minutes.

8. Lay it out the night before.
Ok, fine, you refuse to follow #7. To achieve matchy-matchy perfection, here’s my tip.

Set out tomorrow’s clothes tonight – where darling can see them. He has time to get used to the fact that, yes, he will be wearing the black shirt with the turtle, jean shorts and Batman underpants. Or just put him to bed in this get up. Pray he doesn’t wet the bed (or his pants) and then he’s ALREADY DRESSED for the morning!

9. Count to FIVE.
Warn cuteness that it’s almost time to get dressed. Then tell her you’re going to count to FIVE. When you get to FIVE, it’s all hands on deck! CLOTHES TIME! Bonus: you get to teach math skills.

A kitchen timer works, too. Bonus: you get to do mom stuff (instead of breathing down kiddo’s neck while counting.)

10. Man-handle the child.

When all else fails, corner her in the family room or sit on her. She will cry. She will hate you. She will be dressed. And you can celebrate with a big ole hug!

Ginny Olson is the author of the blog MothersRest.com, a love letter to moms, both new and seasoned, journeying from sleep deprived to joy-arrived. When not riding-herd over two small male children, Ginny works full time at the Center for Creative Leadership and teaches part-time at UNC-Greensboro.


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