It’s no secret that kids grow like weeds, but it’s easy to underestimate just how expensive this will become over time. Your expenses compound, and suddenly you’re spending hundreds to thousands each year clothing your young, growing family.
There are a lot of reasons why people want their kids to stay little, but the rising costs of keeping them clothed as they grow is not the least among them!
Fortunately, with a little forward-thinking, you can save yourself and your wallet a ton of pain.
Before you even have your child, you should have a plan in place to accommodate their changing clothing needs in the long haul. This seems obvious but take into account that your child will grow, on average, about 2.5 inches each year and gain anywhere from 4 to 7 pounds.
And this is just an average, of course. More likely, you’ll experience that your children seem to grow in spurts (known helpfully as growth spurts) that occur at random and for varying lengths of time.
As your child ages, growth spurts happen suddenly and can result in a child skipping a few sizes before you get around to replacing their wardrobe. This makes buying too far ahead, in anticipation of your child reaching certain size milestones, a fruitless and frustrating strategy.
So what’s a parent to do?
Don’t worry. As long as you stay flexible, keep a budget, and stick to this guide, you can ensure your child is properly clothed for cheap—and in style!
Explore Your Options
There is a world of affordable clothing beyond that of hand-me-downs and thrift stores. While it’s awesome and perfectly acceptable to rely on the kindness of strangers, it’s not viable for every situation. And sometimes you won’t be comfortable using secondhand clothing–especially in the age of COVID-19.
Also relevant to the ongoing pandemic: who wants to risk visiting the mall every three months every time your child goes through a growth spurt or ruins a pair of sneakers? Trust me: it’s going to happen, probably more than once, where your kid seems to just wake up out of the blue and nothing fits.
There are plenty of services that have actually solved this problem for adults. There are fewer options for children, but if you dig through the noise, you can find some stellar businesses providing great value to moms.
Consider kidpik, a kids clothing box that offers free shipping AND returns. You and your family also have a week to decide what you will and won’t keep. And if you opt to keep the whole box, you’ll be rewarded for skipping the second trip to the post office with 30% off the box.
Your Child’s Personality
First and foremost, you want to make sure that the decisions you make for your child’s wardrobe as they grow older take into account your child’s desires.
Self-expression is vital to the proper development of a toddler’s psyche. Young children need to feel heard, and they want the room to explore their imagination. Within reason, you should give your children the tools to express themselves.
This includes allowing them some autonomy over their wardrobe. There are certain milestones children reach as they move through toddlerdom into nascent adolescence. Giving your children increasing degrees of freedom over their clothing selection contributes to well-developed self-esteem in kids in addition to self-sufficiency.
Kidpik gives children a voice in choosing their subscription box contents by having them take a fun style quiz. That’s right: it’s built into the business that your child’s style is reflected in the box. You can take the quiz, or you can help your child take it.
Research Brands Carefully
When your child is young and growing so quickly, the durability of clothing items doesn’t really seem to matter. And clothing manufacturers seem to think so, too: most clothing brands don’t build staple pieces for children that are built to last.
But you don’t want to keep purchasing cheap sneakers if you can’t count on your child’s shoe size-changing every year, right? That’s why striking the balance between affordability and quality is so important—even more so than it is when buying for adult wearers.
Buying clothing for kids online is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you can vet brands before taking the plunge. On the other, you can’t hold the piece in your hands. Sometimes the best way to discern a product’s quality is just to hold it. For example, a sweater can look really nice and soft in a picture but have a very different texture in person.
That’s why subscription boxes for kids like kidpik are a great tool to have in your arsenal. You can choose something your kid loves, knowing that it’s great quality, without leaving the comfort of your own home. And you only pay for what you keep! It’s better than trying things on in a dressing room because you don’t have to pack up all the kids in a car and fuss with a diaper bag.