Little Lesson #4 Kids & Clothing

Here’s a little wardrobe management tip for those of you with kids young enough to instill some positive, early habits that will serve you all well through high school (hopefully).

With all four of my kids, I have found much success with starting them young on appropriate clothing selection. I’m sure another mother gave me this sage advice but with old age comes a fleeting memory.

Early, before our kids’ school went to uniforms (amen – I’m a huge uniform advocate – I would lobby for them in any school at any age!) we selected school clothes and after school/weekend clothes. Initially, we had separate drawers but then I found this marvelous invention.

Don’t ask me why there is a teddy bear in the Monday cube. I guess you can use it to sort toys?


There were several reasons this system worked great for us:

  • It eliminated any early morning battles because mama doesn’t function well in the morning.
  • It established a night time routine where they always needed to have their outfit ready for the next day including shoes and socks.
  • It was visual so dad could handle the system when mom wasn’t home.
  • It set clear expectations for what they could and couldn’t wear to school.
  • It was non-negotiable.

We did allow them to have a few of the character or shirts with writing that were not deemed appropriate for school. Nothing mean or nasty, mind you. Rather, the humorous or smartie pants shirts that I’m sure you’ve all seen.

They could wear these on the weekends or they could be sleep shirts.

Side note: The Grunter might just have a shirt that says “I love my wie#%r” with a graphic of a wiener dog. Ann’s son might have received the same shirt as a birthday gift from our family. I’m just saying they might…

I’ve had lively discussions with other mothers about their strong belief in letting their children pick out there own clothes and express their individuality.

Lucky for all of us, we all live in the land of the free and are entitled to our opinion.

Here is mine.

Forget about expressing their individuality. I always said they have PLENTY of time to do that when they get home and on the weekends. Make teachers’ lives easier. The clothing kids are wearing these days is ridiculous.

In addition, uniforms eliminate stress and the competition at school over labels and brands which I’ve always found ridiculous.

Did my kids love uniforms? No. Did I care? No.

They aren’t suppose to love everything. They don’t really love the uniforms they are required to wear for their part-time jobs. They aren’t really allowed to express their individuality at work either. Go figure.

This is the first year that I don’t have any kids in uniforms. I’m grateful that the clothing system was ingrained early in the big kids’ lives. The girls have their outfits out the night before and it is a huge timesaver since they leave the house at 6:30 a.m. (However, they have abandoned their cube organizer.)

Scary Baby has her organizer hanging in the corner where dad mounted it so we can all see that she has her outfit ready. It’s a great week if she actually picks her outfits for the whole week on Sunday night but that doesn’t always happen.


Many stores sell these great organizers. Try Target or Kohl’s.

If your school doesn’t require uniforms, you as the parent, can and should go over what clothing is appropriate for school and then stick to it.

Every school has a dress code and adhering to that dress code is the responsibility of all of us.

From elementary to high school, I continue to be shocked and appalled at some of the “get-ups” I see kids go to school in.

Our kids’ job is to go to school and be a student. Our job as parents is to make sure they are dressed appropriately and I don’t think that should be the subject of a big debate.

Common sense is the answer.

That’s my opinion…what’s yours?


One year ago..

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  1. 1
    Melinda says:

    Well, I have to say I pretty much agree with you on all of it. My girls started private school in 8th grade and actually haven’t complained too much about it. They complain more about the other kids getting away with NOT being in dress code! My son has only had to do it for a couple of years now and I had to figure out which shorts the boys wore ( NOT the pleated ones!) but once we figured that out we’ve been okay. (Except that there seems to be some boys that wear shorts ALL winter so he wants to also. WHO lets their kid wear shorts on a day when it’s freezing?)

    I also insist that they change once they get home from school. You’d be amazed how often I have to remind them to do this! You’d think they’d be wanting to change out of that hated uniform asap, wouldn’t you? Guess they don’t “hate” it as much as they proclaim or at least that’s what I tell ’em when they ignore me.

    I keep telling my hubby, it’s our job to teach them all these things as they grow!!

  2. 2
    Gayle says:

    With teenage girls of 17 & 15, I definately agree with dressing appropriately. I put my foot down when it comes to bare bellies and butt cracks showing! But I also try to remember what it was like when I was a teenager – I remember arguing with my Mom about what looked good and what didn’t. What was “in style” and what wasn’t. So when my girls want to wear something that I think is hideous (not revealing…just ugly!), I usually give in. Of course, I would really like to pin a note to them that says “I was NOT dressed by my Mother today.”

  3. 3
    Tammy says:

    Because we are blessed to home school, our school uniform tends to be comfy pajamas! However, if I were to have kids in school, I would be 110% for uniforms because I think it offers even footing to those that cannot afford certain brands that make you “cool” (whatever that is!) This allows people to be judged for who they are not who they are wearing.

    I also whole-heartedly agree with the inappropriate clothing that is often times worn. I still think that the bottom line with this problem is overindulged and under-parented kids. There are so many things out there that I would not want to see my child wear if they were grown. I certainly don’t want to see it in a hormone-riddled school setting!

    Just me personal thoughts…