Just Get Dressed!


or How To Get Out Of The House In The Morning On Time And With Your Sanity Intact

— by Brandi Davis

It is 7 am. Your hair is wet, you are half shaven, the coffee has yet to kick in, and the adorable
little angel that you tucked in last night has transformed into a demanding, tearful, screaming, tantrum machine, all because you asked them to get dressed. They loved that outfit last week, but it becomes abundantly clear as it flies across the room that it is a favorite no more. An activity that should take 15 minutes has turned into a wet haired, pressure rising, yelling, hour and a half long struggle. Your child ends up being late to school and you, late to work. Your day is shot, but what is even worse is that today was not the first time that your morning has begun this way. This scene is now playing out all of the time. And about what?

Clothes!

More after the jump.
Ok, it is time to cool down, step back, and take a look at what is going on. As it has been said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” It is O.K. though. It happens to the best of us. We all find ourselves in a rut from time to time. Repeating the same action over and over and not knowing how to change our situation, but now it is time to turn a rut into a learning experience. A time to try something new. Here are some tips that may help you on your journey to a new, more enjoyable, morning adventure.

Your child has a need to feel in control of their lives.

By letting them control some of the smaller decisions in their lives, you will find the choice decisions being left to you.

Children enjoy expressing themselves with their clothing.

Oh, and yes I am talking about your 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 11 year old. Is it really THAT big a deal if they think green stripes go with purple polka dots? The respect that you are giving them by letting them express themselves will be a strong foundation in the building of their sense of self and confidence.

You can give your child choices but still keep them weather appropriate.

Make seasonal drawers so that in the winter your child can only pick clothes from the “winter” drawers and they do not try to walk out of the door in a skirt and a tank top. Oh trust me; they will try to do that.

Here is a fun ditty that will help keep your kids focused and on track.

At night tell your child to “pick out your clothes from their head to your toes.” This way your child will know what to expect in the morning. They will know that what is out to wear was their choosing. (And I am not kidding. Have your child pick out clothes all the way down to socks and shoes or there will be a battle over that in the morning.)

Most important of all is recognizing that your parenting skills are not reflected by your child’s
clothes matching, but instead, they are reflected by the skills and sense of self with which you send them off into the world. Watch as your child walks out of the house or into their classroom wearing brown sweatpants and a red and yellow sweater, or black pants and black shirt and black spiked hair and think to yourself, “I am a great parent!” Oh feel free to allow yourself a little giggle when they are out of sight. I mean really. They are wearing brown sweatpants with a red and yellow sweater. What a great story for the office!

Brandi Davis’s book Ok, I’m a Parent Now What will appear on May 1.