“Play is really the work of childhood.” Mister Rogers
When you dress for work, you choose clothing appropriate to your profession. Just as you wouldn’t wear heels at a construction site or scrubs to the office, choosing the right clothing for your little ones to wear to daycare is equally important. Daycare is where children develop fine and gross motor skills, social skills, and develop the very beginnings of literacy and numeracy. You might want to dress your little boy in the most precious wee suits or your daughter in charming frocks, but these are best saved for occasions when the primary task is posing for photos, not learning vital skills. Parenting tips don’t always include fashion advice, but these will help you and your little ones stay comfortable and preserve the clothing you treasure. So what should you save for special occasions?
Clothes that require dry cleaning should be saved for family photos. Anything in silk, fine wool (such as some suit jackets), would fall into this category. Daycare is a messy place. Children spill food and beverages on themselves and others, and gleefully partake in messy arts and crafts activities. Parenting tips often involve sharing favorite stain removers, and for good reason. If your child is in clothes that can’t get wet, even to remove stains, they’ll not have nearly as much fun.
Clothes that can’t tolerate rough handling should stay on the sidelines. Delicate lace and beading often get ruined in rough play. Even if your youngster isn’t the rowdy type, he or she might get jostled by more energetic classmates. Beaded items could also pose a choking hazard if the beads are torn loose. When choosing clothes, ask your child to move around when trying them on. Some shirt and pant seams can’t tolerate a wide range of movement. If the seams strain as your child is reaching up, then it’s not a good choice for someone who might spend time on the monkey bars. Some clothing brands can offer just the right amount of ease, so ask friends and family for parenting tips on good brands for active kids.
Clothing that can’t be easily replaced should be sparingly used. Do not send your child to daycare in anything your family considers an heirloom, no matter how careful your child is. Clothing does gets lost at daycare and at school. Any handmade clothing made by someone who is sensitive about their work should be saved for photos. If your aunt doesn’t care that her handknit sweater is stained and ripped under the arm, then feel free to send your child to daycare wearing it. But if a lost or ruined item will cause family tensions, keep it at home.
The best fashion choices for daycare include comfortable clothing that is machine washable and has soft tags for easy labeling. While your little one might look like a child model, daycare is a different “work” environment than a fashion shoot. Save the darling outfits for when your child is truly ready for their close-up, and he or she will have picture perfect days at daycare.