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Handling Outfit Obsessions

If your preschooler goes Lady Gaga on you, rein in her dramatic style without quashing her individuality and blooming independence.
preschooler fashion Outrageous Outfits

"I want my princess pajamaaaaaas!" my 3-year-old daughter, Avery, wailed as I tried to explain that her beloved pj's were in the laundry. I'm used to this mayhem. The day before, she had a meltdown about a specific dress she refused to wear ("It's yucky!"). And on the sunniest day of the week, she insisted on sporting rain boots at the playground.

Avery's outfit-related outbursts can be incessant, impassioned, and, yes, infuriating, but I was relieved to discover that they're totally typical for children her age. "Three-year-olds are learning to assert their independence, and they want more control over their environment. Clothing is one of the few things they can take charge of," says Tammy Gold, a psychotherapist and parent coach in Short Hills, New Jersey. "Choosing what they wear helps kids define who they are."