For many adults, the clothes they choose to wear are a form of self expression: you might put a band tee on to show your allegiance to a certain type of music, or go for florals if you're feeling happy or summery.


Of course, we dress for practicality too - and choose our outfits based on what we're doing and where we're going.

But just how much choice should a child have in what they wear?

One of the mums on our team decided when her child was about 5 it was time to take her with her to choose clothes, just to avoid the "This jumper's too scratchy! These socks are too tight!!!" arguments she faced on a pretty much daily basis ?

When we asked 1,427 parents about what age they'd let their kids choose their own clothes, it seemed the ages were pretty similar.

Their most popular answers were:

  • 5 years (15%)
  • 8 years (12%)
  • 6 years (11%)


What mums say about letting their kids choose outfits

We have to say though, that letting children choose their own clothes came with a fair few caveats - perhaps not surprisingly.

One respondent, who has 3 children, the oldest being 10, said: "I give my children options but I do have the final say.

"If something is too grown up I will say it's not suitable and ask them to choose something more appropriate."

And the general consensus was that parents were happy to let their children choose within limits: "My [4-year-old] child already does - and provided [it's] weather suitable and doesn't completely clash she wears what she chooses."

Though others pointed out that the age you let them choose their own clothes can completely depend on the individual child: "My 10 year-old son still lets me choose his clothes. My 3 year-old daughter chooses her own!"

What does the expert say?

We checked in with Educational Psychologist Naomi Burgess on this one, and she told us:

"I think we all want our children to become actively engaged in their own lives and one way of doing this by taking opportunities to promote guided decision-making.

"So I would recommend offering them ‘suitable’ choices by preselecting 2 or 3 items.

"If you are super-organised you can get the clothes out the night before, let them choose, and then you are all prepared for that morning rush hour."

This tag cloud shows some of the key words that came up from comments on this topic...


What do you think?

At what age would you let your child choose their own clothes? Would you go along with Naomi's suggestion of 'guided decision making?'

Tell us in the comments below, on Instagram or over on Facebook

Image: Getty Images

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Tara BreathnachContent Editor and Social Media Producer

Tara is mum to 1 daughter, Bodhi Rae, and has worked as Content Editor and Social Media Producer at MadeForMums since 2015