It's Fun to Dress Up!

Read about being a mother of 12 as our resident 'Supermom' shares her wise parenting advice.

It's a fact of life that kids just love to play dress up. Little do they know that dress up is good for them. Dress up plays a key role in helping kids work out their ideas about many things.

How to be the life of the party

Between the ages of three and five, children are still learning about the differences between females and males, and this type of playacting helps them mark out their place as a boy or girl. It's true also, that as children play dress up, they act out social interactions and try out different types of behavior in an informal setting. This is a comfortable way to learn how to be the life of the party, and the opposite of a nerd. Playing dress up can also help your children develop a conscience as they act out the part of Fairy Godmother or Superhero. All in all, such pivotal life lessons are a pretty tall order to be so well served by a few old dresses and hats. Of course, dress up allows your child to be someone he is not, but dreams of being someday. Dress up is also the catalyst for creative fancy and helps develop your child's artistic side. Imagination is a gift that can be fostered, and can serve your child well as he grows into himself and finds his place in the world.

Encourage your daughter to dress the part of a lawyer, by giving her an old suit and a string of fake pearls

Boys will want to dress up as firemen, superheroes, and brief-case toting businessmen. Girls want to be dancers, fairies, princesses, and moms. You can encourage your daughter to dress the part of a lawyer, by giving her an old suit and a string of fake pearls. You can encourage your son to be a father who helps with housework and childcare. Whatever costume they adopt, they act the part as they see fit. This is all a part of children figuring out societal norms. They are working out how girls or boys 'should' play.

Boys and girls playing dress up together will often try out adult male/female interactions. They will play mother and father, husband and wife, romantic couple, and superhero conspirators.

Next time you read to your child, give them some clothing that the characters in the story might wear. Have them act out the story after you read it, or perhaps during the telling. Afterward, you'll be surprised to find that they remember much more of the story than ever before. Acting something out makes it real to your child.

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