Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ask Ashley - The Fiesty Fashionista

Today's question....

Dear Ashley,

My problem of the moment is that Ava (who is three years old) likes to change clothes, and changing an outfit once or twice a day is no big deal, but she’s changing on AVERAGE about 8 times a day. Her room is getting out of control because she throws everything out of her laundry bin every day to see what she has in there thereby creating a messy room (which I DO NOT like). I hang everything up which you’d think would make it out of reach, but she’s too clever for that--she either pulls the item down and breaks the hanger (which is also annoying) or she has figured out to wheel in the computer chair and stand on that to get her clothes down. Now this girl loves clothes so I don’t want to stiffen that, I actually think clothes are her toys, but at the same time I can’t be cleaning her room all the time or doing all of her laundry that she’s producing.

Tired of the messy room and endless laundry,


So Miss Ava loves fashion--I can relate! But girl, you need to put the smack down on that child!! And no, I don't mean actually smack her a la Kate Gosselin. I mean smack down as in a decisive defeat. There is enough laundry in the world without creating an unnecessary excess. After all, I am fairly certain that once laundry hits the hamper, it breeds.

There are several things I would try, starting with:

Reason. Tell her that she may not do this with her clothes because it makes a mess. Also explain to her that she must treat her clothes with respect. You pay money for them (a concept that might be beyond her, but still) and she needs to be nice to them. Clearly leaving them strewn about the room is not being nice to them.

Also, maybe let her choose two outfits (three if you're feeling generous) to change in and out of each day. This way she can "play" without having an endless supply of threads. You could also reward her with "credits" for good behavior that she can use to "buy" a new outfit from the closet.

Punishment. If she disobeys you, she must be punished. This is very unique for each child. What gets to her? What makes her madder than mad? For Mason, it's revoking TV priviliges. For Cole, the mere threat of time out puts him in line. You have to tailor punishment to your child. Maybe in Ava's case, making her wear a plain outfit of your choosing will make her think twice about being disrespectful to her clothes.

Restriction. If reason and punishment fail, get a door lock for the closet. Are they bi-fold doors? Try these. Are they standard doors? Try these if they're round knobs and these if they're lever style handles.

Divert. Maybe buy her coloring books with clothing or dress up themes. Ask her to draw and design her own outfits on a blank piece of paper. Turn her love of clothes into a fun, imaginative exercise that doesn't involve the actual clothing (or you cleaning them up!!). Maybe a toy like these Snap N Style dolls (which I think are so cute!) would be fun to her.

If she does make a mess despite any of the above tactics, make her clean it up! Every. Single. Piece. Of. Clothing. If it takes you an hour to sit there and supervise, if you have to put her in time out a zillion times to get cleaning cooperation, she is old enough to restore her clothes to the proper hanger, drawer, or laundry basket. Do this enough times and it might not seem so fun to throw them all over the place anymore!

I hope you are soon on your way to a neat and tidy room! Good luck!

Gotta question for me? (I really am becoming increasingly convinced that I do know everything. LOL) Email steppedonalego[at]gmail dot com.

No comments: