Dress For Success : How to Ease Transition Resistant Kids Into Weather Appropriate Clothing


We either have a child like this or have seen one in public… here’s the scene… it’s an unusually chilly Spring day in Pittsburgh and you are shivering in your hoodie at the park with your kids when you see a three-year-old child run by in shorts and a sleeveless top.  You are shocked for a minute and then you see a frazzled Mom running after the child holding a jacket and pleading that he/she puts it on. What is it with kids and wanting to wear the least practical, most ridiculous outfit for any given situation?? I used to think it was just my kid. My first daughter was very adamant about what she was going to wear from a young age. She would cry and scream and throw huge fits if we told her she couldn’t wear the same stained dress for the fifth day in a row. It’s a little better now that she’s five but I can see the trend starting with my 19 month old already!

kids who hate clothes
After a few years of the wardrobe wars I started to notice that it got worse with the transitioning of the seasons. Going from short sleeves to long sleeves was a HUGE deal. Wearing coats was out of the question for the first month of winter and forget the hats and gloves!! I sometimes (ok lots of times) wonder if it is worth the battle. Am I wrestling a coat onto my tearful child because she really needs it or because I will feel like an ass of a mom in front of everyone else when she shows up at preschool sans coat? Either way sometimes kids have to wear something practical and here are my tips for dealing with the wardrobe wars…

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1. Dress the kids in layers. Let them be the judge if they are hot or cold once they get outside. They can take off the sweatshirt if they are hot, or add an overcoat if they are cold. Yes, this means more baggage for you. You will have to carry the discarded items in your giant Mary Poppins Mom bag. Also, this only works once the child starts to understand a little bit of reason. When they are too young there is no avoiding the tearful war before you leave the house.

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2. Stock the drawers and closet. This takes some planning and thinking ahead of your child. If you know the weather is going to be really hot for example put all the shorts and tee-shirts on top of the other clothes in the drawers. Also remove anything really warm from the drawers and closet so they don’t see something that they shouldn’t wear.

3. Make a thermometer chart. Draw a thermometer on a large poster board and mark different temperatures on it. Then draw shorts next to 80 degrees for example and a winter coat next to 30 degrees. If your kid is into numbers they will get a kick out of matching the temperature from your weather app with the thermometer chart.
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4. Be prepared with fun weather appropriate clothing. If winter is coming and your child loves Paw Patrol, have Paw Patrol mittens and hats ready. If Spring is here and your daughter loves purple, have a water proof purple jacket and rain boots handy. Even if you buy them early make sure you hide these items until it’s time to wear them! It just might make or break your morning to combine a fun surprise with the bad news that your child has to wear a different coat today.

If these tips don’t work and you still end up feeling like an ass with your child in a wool sweater at the pool party, take it easy on yourself. In fact, take a picture! You may not believe it now but someday you will laugh at it. The fact that you are worried about what your kid is wearing makes you a good parent!!


  1. Great tips! This is a struggle with my 2, almost 3 year old. I never thought to talk specifically about temperature or to offer a visual to help her understand. I’d just say it’s cold or hot, something she confuses anyway (mama put my sweater on, I’m SO HOT, is something I hear often) I think the visual aid combo’d with a game of “lets look at the weather app,” will help a lot. THANKS!

  2. This was a great post. I’m glad I read this now for my 3 year old. Our kids can be so tiny and so bossy lol. Thank you!

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