Did you know that many toddlers are very particular about the clothes they wear? In fact, many toddlers will cry or throw a temper tantrum because they don’t want to wear a certain pair of shoes, or they don’t like the outfit you chose for them on that particular day. If you are struggling because your toddler won’t wear short sleeves, there are a few tips you can try!
Check the Temperature
Your toddler may not want to wear short sleeves simply because of the temperature. Some kids, just like some adults, get cold very easily. This means that your little one might fight against short sleeves because she gets too cool. She may like the warmth that long sleeves may provide. You can check with your child’s daycare teacher to see if the classroom temperature is too cool for your little one. One solution to this problem is to dress your toddler in layers, so she can remove a sweater or jacket when she gets warm. Then, she can wear her short sleeves until she is too cold again.
Some toddlers prefer long sleeves over short sleeves because they feel more secure when their arms are covered. You might notice that when your toddler wears short sleeves, she repeatedly pulls on her sleeves to keep as much of her arms covered as possible. This is because she feels more comfortable when her body is covered. She may even feel vulnerable or insecure when more of her skin is showing. You can help your toddler work through these feelings by buying three quarter length sleeves for her to wear before transitioning fully to short sleeves. You can even roll up her long sleeves to create sleeves of different lengths to help your toddler get used to the feeling of short sleeves.
A Painful Memory
Another reason a toddler might refuse to wear short sleeves is if the short sleeves remind her of a painful memory. For example, your toddler might have experienced a painful sunburn on her arms or experienced itchy mosquito bites on her arms. If she associates the pain or itchiness with her short sleeves, then she will probably avoid short sleeves to avoid the pain again. It is helpful to ask your toddler why she doesn’t want to wear short sleeves, so you can calmly and rationally explain how you can protect your child’s arms in the future. You may be able to use sunscreen or bug spray to alleviate your toddler’s fears. There may be a simple solution to helping your child feel comfortable in short sleeves.
Observe Your Toddler’s Friends
Toddlers are very observant. They notice even the smallest details that you may not have noticed. Your toddler may not want to wear short sleeves because her friends aren’t wearing short sleeves. Your toddler might not want to look different than the other children that she is around each day. Therefore, she might be more willing to wear short sleeves if she sees others around her doing the same. Observe your toddler’s friends at daycare or the babysitter’s house to see what the other children are wearing to determine if this might be the case.
Feel the Fabric
Toddlers also have strong opinions about what touches their bodies. Many toddlers hate the way certain fabrics feel against their skin. They crave soft material that doesn’t scratch their skin or restrict their movements. Your child might simply like the way the soft fabric of her long sleeve shirts feels against her skin. She may not prefer the feeling of bare skin on her arms when she is used to the soft fabric around her arms. To help your toddler if this is the case, try to purchase short sleeve shirts that are just as soft as the long sleeves she is used to wearing. If you know how to sew, you may be able to cut and hem the long sleeve shirts she currently wears to make them into short sleeve shirts your child will wear.
Give Lots of Praise
As you are working with your toddler to transition from long sleeve shirts to shirt sleeve shirts, be sure to give your toddler lots of praise. This will help make the transition a more positive experience. If you continually get upset with your toddler for not wearing short sleeves or if you continually fuss at your toddler about this issue, your toddler will start to associate negative feelings with short sleeves. Therefore, try to praise your toddler and give encouragement to help your toddler be more willing to wear short sleeves.
Make a Match
One exciting tip to try is to buy or make you and your toddler matching short sleeve shirts. Many little girls want to dress like their mommies, and many little boys want to dress like their daddies. If you can find or make matching short sleeve shirts, your toddler might just get on board with the idea of wearing short sleeves simply because your toddler wants to imitate you. A bonus is that matching shirts are great for photo opportunities as well.
Start with Pajamas
If your toddler refuses to wear short sleeves out in public, then it may be a better idea to coax your toddler into wearing short sleeve pajamas at home. Once your little one is more comfortable wearing short sleeve pajamas at night, you can slowly transition to wearing short sleeves during the day around the house. Then, your little one might even be willing to wear short sleeves to play outside or to go out in public. Small steps at home can lead to progress. You can even let your toddler help you make the short sleeve pajamas from her current long sleeve pajamas. Supervise your child as she cuts the sleeves on her pajamas to create a new look. Involving your toddler in this process might just be what it takes to get your child on board with wearing short sleeves!