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Most children that struggle with choosing clothes to wear are actually kids that are sensitive to the clothing itself. Whether it be texture, color, or the way it fits, clothing can elicit all kinds of responses from children, and most often they’re negative. Avoiding a sense of overwhelm is often the safest bet to stop a battle before it begins, suggests Barbara Greenberg, PhD, a clinical psychologist specializing in parenting and teens, as well as co-author of Teenage as a Second Language. “When you give kids too many choices, especially those that are sensitive in some way to begin with, it makes the entire process more stressful for both parent and child,” she tells Reader’s Digest. Dr. Greenberg suggests giving a child two outfit options to choose from, making the decision much easier for the child, and avoiding a circumstance in which the child loses focus and becomes frustrated.
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When shopping with your child, it can be tempting to try and steer your child toward clothing pieces that you would choose rather than what your child prefers. However, it’s important to find items that you both can agree on, so that your child’s closet is filled with only those items. Dr. Greenberg urges parents to have their children try on the clothing at the store first, explaining, “Many kids are sensitive to texture, so it’s vital that they feel the clothing against their skin before making a decision.” She continues, “Sometimes they will love an item that feels or looks soft on the outside, but is actually rough or scratchy on the interior, and this can be frustrating for the child when they love a piece on the hanger, but don’t enjoy actually wearing it. Making sure they are comfortable in the clothing before it’s time to wear it out of the house can cut down on a lot of frustration and tears.”