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Before You Buy Kid Clothes: Comfort, Practicality Rule School Dress Code Attire

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Before you buy clothes for your youngster for daycare or school, there's more you should know besides whether there is a school dress code. Here are some eight heartfelt suggestions from care providers and educators to ensure happy and comfortable kids!

1) Think Practical: Leave Ruffles, Dressy Attire for Other Occasions

Youngsters may look absolutely precious in ruffles and lace, but let's be honest, your child's caregiver or teacher wants your kids dressed for practicality and fun. Dressed up for outdoor play or recess can be downright hazardous. The excess fabric can easily catch or snag on playground equipment and can create running hazards as well. Kids need to be dressed in practical clothes please!

2) Forget About Hard-to-Pull On Tights, Lacey Overpants, Suspenders

It's tempting, yes, and parents can even argue that tights keep legs covered from cold weather. That part is true, but imagine being a child care provider who attempts to continuously get kids undressed/dressed for potty time or to change diapers while peeling through layers of tights and lacey overpants that go over panties/diapers, and you'll have to agree. It's a lot of work a lot of times throughout the day.

3) Potty-Training Kids and Youngsters Need Easy-to-Manage Outfits

Toddlers through age 7 or so need simple to unfasten/snap, or best yet, pull-on type clothing during the day when in daycare/school. When seconds count between a successful bathroom break and unfortunate accident, kids need "dash-n-go" style clothing. And, many kids are embarrassed when they can unsnap something, but cannot re-snap afterward and have to ask for assistance. Parents can do their part by having kids demonstrate that they can succesfully re-fasten pants beforehand.

4) Bows, Fancy Barrettes and Hats Can Be No-Nos

A hair bow that is affixed around a pony tail is one thing; a fancy clip-on bow that costs a pretty penny and keeps sliding out (or continuously gets yanked out) of a tot's hair should be left at home. The same holds true for fancy barrettes and clips that can hurt a child's tender head when she lies down at naptime. And while ball caps or simple sunhats may be great for field trips or outdoor play, providers/teachers don't want to keep up with fancy hats that are most likely taken off anyway.

5) Outfit Kids in Seasonally-Correct Clothes

Sweats in the summer? Shorts when it's 50 degrees? Providers are often dismayed to find incorrectly-dressed kids brought in, which can cause limitations to what can be done that day. Parents need to stay in tune with the seasons and temperature forecasts. Some smart families keep an extra set of clothes in their car for quick-changes in case of surprise weather changes. (

6) Jackets Often a Forgotten Item

Many a provider/teacher has lamented that kids come to child care without a jacket on cool days, only to either shiver or get left inside when classmates get much-needed outdoor time. If possible, purchase an inexpensive jacket that can stay in your kid's cubby at daycare or school (mark your child's name on it prominently) so that your tot is always prepared in case an unexpected cool-front comes through. Most providers prefer simple to zip jackets with a built-in hood.

7) Tennis Shoes, Not Sandals or Hard-to-Put-On Boots Preferred

Good ol' socks and tennis shoes are all-around the best footwear for kids-on-the-go. Leave sandals and flip-flops at home unless kids can independently take off and put in a packed pair of socks and tennis shoes. (Just imagine having to remove and change shoes on multiple tots before going anywhere...isn't it hard enough with your own kids?) If your child can't lace his shoes, then do your provider a favor and select velcro-style or slip-on style shoes to avoid shoelace maintenance.

8) Bring Change of Clothes

Place a seasonally-appropriate change of clothes (including socks and underwear)in a gallon-size ziploc baggie and mark your child's name on it and place in your kid's cubby or with the caregiver...just in case! Just be sure to replace this extra set of clothes as seasons change and your child grows (something parents often forget to do). Elementary school-aged children will benefit from the same suggestion; even older kids aren't past accidental spills at lunch and during art class!
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