Behavior Q&A: Wearing the Same Clothes Over and Over

Q. My 3-year-old wants to wear the same outfit every day. She has a fit if I try to make her change. Should I just force her?

A. No. This is probably just a phase that will pass in a few weeks. Save your energy for bigger battles, and remind yourself that having a child with a mind of her own is a good thing. "There's nothing wrong with wearing the same thing over and over, as long as it's clean," says Dori Winchell, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Encinitas, California. Of course, you don't want to be stuck doing laundry at the crack of dawn. Make a rule that if her outfit is dirty, your daughter has to pick out something else. (Find a calm time—not when she's getting dressed in the morning—to break the news.) Have her decide on her outfit the evening before; the excitement of choosing will help distract her if her favorite getup is in the hamper. "Toddlers' lives are chaotic," Dr. Winchell says. "If a certain outfit gives them stability and security, there's no harm in that."

Copyright© 2005. Reprinted with permission from the May 2005 issue of Parents magazine.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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