When you were pregnant and excitedly purchasing three-piece outfits and ruffle-adorned bloomers, it was hard to foresee the blowout diapers and vomit soaked shirts that were in your near future. Very quickly, simple onesies and diaper days became a staple in your routine. It doesn’t really change as your kids get older and playgrounds, sandboxes, finger painting, and potty accidents make their way into your life. The same goes when you send them off to school for the first time — how should you dress your child for preschool? You have to be prepped for glitter, glue, dirt, and the like, and the best experts on the matter — teachers — have some advice.
“To us, a messy day is the sign of a good day,” Julie Kandall, the educational director at NYC-based Columbus Pre-School tells Romper in an email interview. “Play is work, and we are working all day, so send your child to school in clothes that you are OK getting a little dirty. Save the fancy clothes for the weekend.”
Kandall says beyond getting messy at the sensory table, kids will be having fun on the playground and getting sweaty during gym time, meaning that they also need to be dressed in clothes that are comfortable to move around in.
Maureen Lake, a mother of three with a MA in early childhood development, says parents should keep in mid that “active learning comes with messy play.”
“We may want our child to look like they just walked out of a Gap commercial, but it’s not realistic or fair for them to be dressed to the nines,” she tells Romper in an email interview.
Lake says that even though the school may supply aprons and towels for certain projects, it’s important for a child to be dressed appropriately so that he or she can explore all crafts and activities. She recommends also being prepared for changing weather, so pack boots, a raincoat, hats, and gloves to keep in your child’s cubby.
Kandall says to also make sure your child has a set — or two — of spare clothes “just in case.” That means extra underwear, t-shirts, pants, and anything else that makes your child feel comfortable about his school attire.
And if there’s anything you’ve learned thus far as a mom, it’s that there’s always a just in case.