How old should your child be before they start choosing their own clothes?

There is a growing debate around gender neutral clothing lines and the potential positive and negative consequences. With the open discussion in the headlines, you may start to wonder at what age you should let your child choose how they want to dress. There are many benefits to allowing your child to choose their own clothes, but truth is, there’s no right or wrong answer to when you should start. Some children crave individuality, but every child is different.

It can be good for a child to feel they have some form of self-expression and to feel they have a sense of freedom. I let Tilly choose her own clothes all the time, I only step in if her choice is totally inappropriate for the weather, I feel it shows her expressionism and lets her be who she wants to be. Granted, they may not know about colour matching, pattern clashes and they may want to wear a skirt and jeans at the same time, but that doesn’t really matter. As long as the children are safe, choosing their outfits themselves isn’t hurting anyone

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You know your child better than anyone so it’s important to encourage them to express their individuality when you feel it is appropriate - there is no set age when it comes to granting your child the freedom to let loose in their wardrobe. We go to Primark and Tilly will browse the girls and the boys clothing section for clothes, and you know what? I am happy for her to do that.

If they can communicate their own feelings towards clothes they are generally old enough to make their own outfit decisions. Letting a child choose their own clothes can build confidence. It will let them explore their own tastes and begin to see what type of person they want to be and creative freedom is important to their development.

A recent study in the US summarises that not allowing children to be creative at a young age can impact them in later life - as adults they may struggle to take chances and risks. This is why it’s so important for self-expression no matter what the age. As we all know, a vital part of growing up is having to listen to adults as they guide you through the start of your life. But, another vital part of growing up is developing imagination and creative thinking skills. Letting them express their clothing style can be a safe way for a child to think creatively and problem solve.

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They’ll need to understand important factors to consider, such as the weather, before getting dressed. It can be a good idea to set some ground rules and explain the complications in an outfit choice. Such as, if it’s freezing outside a warm, cosy coat is needed, otherwise they will be cold and won’t be able to join in outdoor play. As well as the benefits that come with letting a child choose their own outfits, it can also simply mean that you won't have to battle each morning. No more arguing over what to wear or tantrums when putting matching socks on. It can also become a bonding experience, as will shopping trips. When in adult life do you get to wear a princess dress all day? Let’s remember to let kids be kids and enjoy childhood no matter what they wear.