Should Children be Allowed to Choose Their Own Outfits?

Dressing kids can be challenging, especially when they have their own style in mind. It’s normal to feel a bit nervous about power struggles and tantrums over the perfect outfit for school pictures. But remember, it’s their decision how they want to present themselves. Let them express themselves through their clothing choices and set some appropriate guidelines. Please communicate with your child, understand their perspective, and make a mutual decision with which everyone can be happy.

When it comes to kids expressing themselves through clothing and deciding whether to let them pick out their own clothes, there are a few things to keep in mind. Giving children the responsibility of getting themselves dressed can be a great way to build their independence while also reducing stress on busy morning routines. It’s important to consider the age and maturity level of the child, as well as the specific circumstances and the child’s sense of style, when making this decision.

While it can be challenging to reconcile our own sense of style with our child’s unique preferences, it’s important to remember that children are developing their own sense of self and style.

We can support their individuality and self-esteem by allowing them to express themselves through their clothing choices. Establishing clear boundaries and guidelines, such as ensuring clothing is appropriate for the occasion, weather, and school dress code, if applicable, can help create a balance between allowing children to express themselves and ensuring they are dressed appropriately.

5 Benefits of Allowing Your Child to Pick Out Their Clothes

1. Build Confidence by Choosing Your Clothes


According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it’s important to help children develop their independence by establishing clear guidelines and routines. When children are allowed to make small choices and solve simple problems, they can feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.

This, in turn, helps to build their self-esteem, self-expression, and confidence. As children experiment with different colors, styles, and types of clothing, they begin to learn what makes them feel comfortable and confident. Finding a sense of style and expressing themselves through fashion can be a fun and exciting way for kids to explore their own sense of identity. By allowing children to make their own clothing choices, parents can support their children’s independence and self-expression while also helping them develop their own sense of style.

2. Improve Kids’ Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills


Allowing a child to pick their own outfits, even something as simple as choosing between a striped t-shirt and a polka dot, can be a big decision in a preschooler’s life (and even in an adult’s life!). However, giving them small choices in their daily routines, like what coat to wear that day, can help your child develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Wearing their chosen outfit throughout the day allows kids to see the impact of their choices. For example, when they don’t wear their mittens in the winter, they come home with cold fingers! Making these connections early on will help kids apply the same reasoning to more extensive life choices as they grow up and have to make more and more decisions on their own. This will ultimately help them to become more independent and confident in their decision-making.

By allowing children to make small choices, we can help them develop the skills they need to make bigger, more important choices in the future.

3. Showing Your Child You Respect Their Opinions


When a parent respects a child’s choice, they learn the importance of respect and how to respect other people’s choices. This is a crucial lesson for children to learn as it lays the foundation for how they will interact with others in the future.

Additionally, children who feel respected by their parents are more likely to have a positive self-image and believe they deserve respect.

Child development experts support the idea that children should be treated with mutual respect by their parents and other adults. Allowing kids the opportunities to make decisions and build decision-making skills throughout their day is beneficial for their development and helps them reach their developmental milestones. By giving children autonomy and allowing them to make choices, we can support their growth and development, both emotionally and cognitively.

4. Give Young Kids a Sense of Control


We all have a natural desire for control in our lives, as it helps us to feel calm and in charge. Children also have this need, but since they have limited control over their lives, it can be frustrating for them.

Giving children the opportunity to make small choices and have a sense of control can help them feel more comfortable and confident. This can be done by allowing them to pick out their own clothes or make small decisions in their daily routine. Giving children a sense of control, even in small ways, can help them feel more in charge of their lives and reduce frustration.

5. Save Time Getting Kids Ready in the Morning


Allowing your children to have a say in what they wear each day can ultimately save you significant time in the long run. By giving them the autonomy to choose their own clothes, they will be more invested in the process of getting dressed and staying on schedule in the Morning.

Not only will this empower them to take ownership of their appearance, but it will also alleviate the pressure on you as a parent to make clothing decisions for them constantly. Additionally, it can help children develop their own sense of style and foster independence.

Tips for Allowing Your Child to Pick Out Their Own Clothes

Keep to a consistent schedule.

Maintaining consistency is crucial when it comes to providing children with the freedom to select their own attire. When you allow them to make clothing choices on Monday, they will expect the same level of autonomy on subsequent days. However, it is also important to recognize that there may be certain occasions, such as a wedding, where you may need to exert more control over their outfit.

In these cases, consider offering them smaller options, such as allowing them to choose their accessories, to balance both your needs and their sense of independence.


When giving young children the opportunity to choose their own clothes, it is essential not to present them with too many options. For toddlers, you can offer two pre-selected options, such as a green shirt or a black shirt, to make the decision process less overwhelming. For older elementary school students, you can give them broader guidelines, such as selecting a short-sleeved shirt and shorts.

As parents, we aim to instill independence in our children from a young age. We encourage them to learn new skills, like rolling over, crawling, and taking their first steps. We also encourage them to get back up when falling and keep trying.

From birth, children are constantly absorbing new information and making connections. Even before they turn one, they already have a clear sense of what they like and dislike. As a parent, it can be challenging to balance making necessary choices for their survival and allowing them to make decisions for themselves.

The principles that apply to helping children learn to choose their own clothes can also be applied to other aspects of their lives. For example, you can ask them if they would prefer a pancake or eggs when preparing breakfast. Or when giving them a toy, you can ask them if they would like the red one or the blue one.

Allowing children to express their preferences and make simple choices will develop key skills such as confidence, problem-solving, and self-respect. Furthermore, it gives them a sense of control and power, which is essential for their development. It can also make your life as a parent more accessible by reducing the number of decisions you have to make.