How to Get Your Kids Dressed Without a Fight

Today’s guest post is from the author of 31 Days to a Younger You, Arlene Pellicane.  Her new book 31 Days to a Happy Husband comes out this summer. Arlene has three children, Ethan(7), Noelle(5) , and Lucy(2) and one happy husband named James.

My oldest child Ethan is a 7-year-old second grader who dresses himself each morning. For the most part, he does a great job (except when he wears hisred shirt and red pants, he looks like a giant licorice stick!). But getting dressed was not always a piece of cake.

Like the time on MY birthday when 5-year-old Ethan had a meltdown about his outfit. I wanted to take a nice birthday picture of the family so I gave Ethan a navy blue polo shirt to wear.

“I want to wear something with a car on it! I will NOT wear that blue shirt!” he threatened with gusto.

I told him there would be no ice cream for boys who don’t wear navy blue shirts.

He reluctantly agreed but 10 minutes later, he was still running around naked. My husband James, who is quite good at consequences and action based discipline, calmly said to Ethan, “You will go shirtless.”

Now for some kids, this would be icing on the cake. But for our little rules keeper, this was a terrible sentence. We put him in the minivan, shirtless.

Ethan went ballistic. “I want to wear a shirt! I am cold!” I gave him a blanket. He sobbed for something with sleeves. As the car ride continued, he got more and more worried. By the time we reached our destination, 5-year-old Ethan was very repentant.

The navy blue shirt was worn with great relief from both Ethan and me.

James told him, “If you don’t get dressed when we tell you, wearing what we tell you, you will go shirtless much longer.”

That was the last time we ever had a problem with Ethan getting dressed.

Now his sister who’s two years younger.that will have to be another post!

Who’s the dramatic dresser in your home? What have you done to avoid fights over getting dressed?


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10 thoughts on “How to Get Your Kids Dressed Without a Fight

  1. Thankfully we have never had too much clothing drama in our house, aside from when my oldest was trying to learn to dress himself. He would get so frustrated and scream his face off about things like buttons and snaps. All he had to do was ask nicely, you know? LOL.

    Anyway, I have also had a couple licorice-stick boys in my house from time to time, but we homeschool so I usually don’t care. 🙂 Now I have a girl, though, who is asserting her independence more every day, so I have a feeling the dressing drama has just begun.

  2. I have two girls and I choose not to battle over what they wear on a daily basis. As long as it is weather appropriate and fits what they are doing that day, they can put together any crazy combination they can think up.
    There has been one instance with my youngest who is three when she wanted to wear something that was not weather appropriate. So, she ended up riding to daycare in her underwear because she refused to put on another outfit than what she wanted to wear.
    I have not had problem getting her dressed again. Also, my seven year old now knows to take me seriously when I say that I will take her to school in what ever she has on when it is time to leave!

  3. When my 11 yr old daughter was younger I never did the clothes struggle. She knows what’s appropriate & what’s modest but sometimes she can put some pretty weird combinations together. Once in a while I have to step in & make her change (sometimes there’s a struggle) but not very often. Now my 6 yr old daughter we use to butt heads at least once a week. I’ve began to learn what specific clothes she does or doesn’t like. Just because I think they’re cute doesn’t mean she likes them. So every piece of clothing she doesn’t like, I’ve donated (that way some other little girl can benefit from the clothes). To cut down on all the hassle, we pick out all our clothes the night before. “If” there is a wardrobe change it has to be because something doesn’t fit or the weather has changed overnight.

  4. My three yr old boy would walk around in underwear all day if i let him. I’ve started setting a timer and if hes not dressed when it goes off he gets to wear whatever i pick out, usually that means something other then jeans. Hes only missed the timer twice and hated what i picked out!

  5. One Sunday morning, my then-3-year-old son took off his pajamas and underwear, but then refused to put anything on for church. Instead of making my daughter late (she was serving in children’s ministry that morning), I told everyone to get in the car and then threw the boy in stark naked. My 3 girls were initially horrified, but then had a hard time controlling their giggles as my son realized what was happening and protested loudly. Twenty minutes later, we were in the church parking lot and he was getting dressed in the car. On Monday morning, he started giving me a hard time about getting dressed for school. I told him, “I took you to church naked, I’ll put you on the school bus naked.” He immediately put his clothes on and has NEVER done that again! 🙂

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