Back-to-School Shopping Hints to Stop Wardrobe Wars
Have you done back-to-school clothes shopping yet? A ritual in many houses this time of year, hitting the mall to stock up on new clothes for a new year can create some unwanted tension among, well, everyone. Picking out clothes is one of the first ways your kiddo really asserts independence and starts to explore who she is. It doesn't have to turn into a battle of wills and a river of tears - and actually, it is a great time to connect with your child and enable them with some fabulous know-how.
Back-to-school shopping trips open the door for conversations about hefty topics like what makes a person beautiful and how to be confident with your own personal style (as opposed to having to have everything everyone else has). It's also a perfect time to teach your kids how to "shop smart," a great skill to learn that they can use now (when spending that precious allowance) as well as when they are older.
-- Start before you even head out the door. Grab a pen and a piece of paper and make a list. Sit down with your child, maybe look at magazines to get the conversation started, and then check out her closet. Go over stuff that still fits and see what she needs to make outfits work -- put it all on the list.
-- Talk about a budget. Money is tight for everyone these days, so figure out how much you can spend with your child there. Looking at the list, talk with her and together split the list up into needs (uniform skirts, new underwear, and socks) and wants (the trendier sweater or those in-fashion boots). This is a perfect time to enable her to make choices about the new items for school. Explain that because of the budget, she can have only a certain number of items from the "wants" column.
-- Figure out a plan of where you want to go and stick to it. Don't be swayed by other stores (other "bright shiny objects" as my husband calls it). Keep your list handy and refer to it often. Another idea: have a fun activity planned for after the shopping trip -- maybe hitting the ice cream shop, stopping at the craft store, or catching a movie -- to keep you both going and focused.
-- Remember your style isn't her style. Know your "ground rules" (no see-through shirts, minimum skirt length, or the "too tight factor"), go over them before you are in the dressing room...and then let her make her own choices. Also, check her school's website for any dress codes it may have.
-- While you are shopping, shop for one item you need. Use this opportunity to talk out loud about why you need or want it, why you choose to buy (or not buy) the one you do, whether price or fit or style or whathaveyou, which re-enforces a good shopping decision-making process.
-- Everything doesn't have to be bought in one day. Get those items from the needs column done and perhaps tackle shoes or school supplies at a later day. Spreading it out over a few shopping trips helps both you and her focus on a few items at a time, so you can really make it a positive experience and have the time to talk about the choices she is making and why.
Share your back-to-school shopping tips here!