Dress-up battles

Readers’ secrets for winning

Reader poll - April 2006 It’s spring and time for Easter and Passover celebrations, those great dress-up holidays that kids loathe and we love. This month, we asked readers to share their secrets for getting kids into the starched shirts and frilly dresses. Here’s what you said.

Since it is a struggle in the morning or on a special occasion to get my preschool-age daughter dressed, I typically will do one of two things: If she has to wear something outside of normal day clothes, I let her choose her clothes by letting her pick one of two options. If it’s just getting dressed and out of the house, she usually procrastinates, but by the time she sees me getting in my coat and picking up my keys, she is running up the stairs to get dressed.

Another option is no TV on weekend mornings until she gets dressed (but I have found this doesn’t work so well anymore, since she would rather play with her Barbies anyway). Rachel Powers, mom of Lauren, 4, Evanston

I have one method. First, I enter my daughter’s room in my nice outfit. "Honey, we’re going somewhere very special today," I tell her, but I never say where. I want her to imagine all the possibilities. But I’ll add, "Everyone is dressing up."

"Everyone? Even my cousins?" she’ll ask.

I wait to answer. With three dresses in my hand, I say, "Hurry, pick one of these." By this time, her mind is racing. For all she knows, she may be joining her cousins at Magic Kingdom.

She’ll pick a dress and wriggle it on. As I fasten her last button, I finally discuss the details. If the plans include ice cream, she’s never disappointed. Francesca Gaddini-Boord, mom of Nina Marie, 4, Oak Park

There are only a few times during the year that the kids really have a chance to get dressed up. The big factor is making the outfits attractive to the kids (perhaps even taking them shopping, so they can help pick out their Easter outfits—which makes them very proud to show them off), and making sure that the clothes, and especially the shoes, are comfortable.

Instead of those uncomfortable leather shoes, I find that a nice, dressy-looking pair of loafers or tennis shoes for the boys, or something equally comfortable, but dressy looking for the girls (there are many more choices for the girls) makes a big difference. But if you make it a fun experience, one that they participate in from the start, I find that the kids are much more excited when it comes to the dress-up day—whether you celebrate Easter or Passover. Kim Johnson, mom of Alex, 10, and Greg, 7, Woodridge


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