Four year old dressing drama

Cynthia - posted on 11/19/2015 ( 6 moms have responded )




I need major advice! My daughter is almost five and when she turned four every morning I picked out 3 outfits and she chose one. Now it has gotten to the point where she almost never chooses one I pick even after I ask her if she would like to wear a dress, pants etc. she will generally whine and carry on for nearly 40 minutes. I have tried different approaches and they all only work sometimes. If I walk away she flips out and wants me to sit there and watch her pick an outfit. It seems to cause her a lot of anxiety doing it. She also went through a phase where she changed her socks over and over until they are just on the exact way she wants.

I'm not sure what to do as I have tried different ways to make this easier but it only seems to be worse. She changes multiple times a day sometimes.


Ev - posted on 11/19/2015




Sounds like she is doing this because she is getting the attention she wants. I would lay out only two outfits for her to choose. Leave the room. If she tosses a fit, do not go back in there. Let her toss her fit and make the choice. Also lay out her underthings for her too. When it is time to leave, tell her. If she won't get dressed, take her to school in her pjs and explain to her teacher what happened. Leave a set of clothing for her to wear. I do not think it is anxiety. I think she is pushing your buttons to see what she can get away with. Do not give in to her fits. She does not need you to see what she picks out in the room, she can show you what she wears. If you have to, pick out an outfit if fits are so bad and lay it out for her and tell her there will be no more choices until she can stop her fits.

Sarah - posted on 11/22/2015




Changing clothes throughout the day may be typical but you don't have to allow it her change unless needed. I agree with Evelyn that this is probably an attention seeking behavior, but she may also feel overwhelmed if she owns a lot of clothing. If she is asking you to pick three outfits, she may still be thinking about the clothing in the dresser or the closet. If you think that may be the case, take the clothes out and move them to a different spot and leave just a few choices for her. by no means do you need to sit there while she has a fit, give her a warning and then pick her up and take her to school.

Sarah - posted on 11/20/2015




I would agree with Evelyn. This is quiet normal at this age. Pick out 2 or 3 outfits and then leave the room. If she tantrums oh well....she does that with you in there as well. Just this way she will realize no one is listening. It is amazing how short tantrums become once they realize no one is listening. Changing clothes throughout the day is also a normal thing for a 4 yr old is a girl thing.

Jodi - posted on 11/19/2015




So are you suggesting she might want to just pick her own outfit and not one of the ones you chose for her?


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Cynthia - posted on 11/20/2015




Yes Jodi, when she doesn't want to choose one of mine I tell her to pick one out but this generally turns into a tantrum. I started letting her pick out the outfit on her own but she generally tantrums and asks me to pick three so I do and she won't choose one and continues to tantrum, sometimes it feels like we sit there and go through all her clothes!

Dove - posted on 11/19/2015




If she doesn't want to pick her outfit... just pick it for her and lay it out for her to get dressed. If she changes her clothes and they are still clean... just stick them back in her drawers.

And everything else that Evelyn said.

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