When parents and caregivers begin to prepare children for a child care setting, clothing selection should be made a high priority. From picking out the right fit to selecting the right seasonal choices, clothing can affect a child’s health, safety, comfort, play and ability to learn. Here are some things to consider:
The Right Size: It’s very important to have clothing that fit properly. Clothing should never be too tight or too loose. Tight clothing can restrict a child’s movements and also cause unnecessary distraction from his or her educational environment. Clothing that is too loose can also be a safety issue, especially in regard to coordination issues like tripping or falling. Loose clothing could also cause accidents on the playground. Also consider easy to manage pull on type clothing that can help a child undress quickly for a quick restroom break to avoid an accident.
The Right Season: Parents and caregivers should always dress their child for the season. In the spring and summer months, obvious things to avoid include sweaters, jeans and heavy clothing — and remember that the smaller the child, the more easily he or she can become overheated. To avoid sun exposure in the warmer months, make sure clothes offer enough protection by putting your hand inside garments to make sure you can’t see through them. If it’s not too hot outside and won’t make kids even more uncomfortable, you can also dress your child in light long-sleeved shirts and/or long pants. In the colder, winter months, children should obviously avoid short sleeves, shorts, etc.
By having the right clothes for the right season, children will not be limited by outdoor activities that may be planned for the day. And because South Carolina temperatures do vary in any given season, it’s also a good idea to have an extra set of clothes in the car for quick changes in case of a sudden change in weather — especially a jacket in case the temperatures are cooler than expected.
Shoes: Quality foot wear that fits well is very important for a child’s safety and comfort. Tennis shoes and socks are considered to be the best bet for a child care setting because kids are always in constant motion. Some shoes to avoid include open toe sandals and flip-flops for obvious safety reasons — both on and off the playground. And if children cannot lace their own shoes, a Velcro-style or slip on shoe is preferred to avoid shoelace maintenance throughout the day.
Labels: One last thing to consider is to never give the impression that a child will be judged by what they wear. Parents and caregivers would be wise to not put an emphasis on designer labels or trendy clothing as status symbols. At this early stage of development, letting a child pick his or her own clothes can also do wonders for self-esteem and imagination — as long as safety and seasonal concerns are taken into consideration.
To help your child learn about seasonal clothing selections, share this learning module about how to Dress for the Season available for South Carolina Educational Television.