Kids in Costumes

It is that time of year again when, for one evening, your little angels transform into witches and ghouls! But should dressing up be consigned to one day of the year? We think not, and those who work in child development agree so, this week, we are discussing the importance of dressing up.


The act of dressing oneself is far more important than you might initially think. Nothing boosts a child’s sense of independence and self-confidence than the ability to choose what they are wearing and to dress themselves. It marks a move from the baby who needed help to the person who can do it all on their own. Child psychologists have remarked that shoes in particular are a subject of early fascination for children – not only do they pose exciting new challenges like laces and buckles, but they also demonstrate that kids are grown up and learning to stand on their own two feet. Plus, if you teach your little ones how to dress themselves, it will certainly save you time in the morning!


Another reason shoes are an early favourite, is because they are a symbol for mum and dad. Which child hasn’t tried on their parents’ shoes in the early years and clomped adorably around in them? This is one of the reasons dressing up is so important – it gives children an opportunity to, sometimes literally, put themselves in someone else’s shoes. Studies have shown that children who dress up and play make-believe are better at empathising with their peers, understanding how other people think and feel.


It also helps children become more sociable in general! Dressing up and acting out stories requires communication and cooperation and helps children develop teamwork skills and an interest in their playmates. When picking the roles each of them will play, what costume and tools their character will need, and how their character should interact with the others, they also hone their decision-making skills.


And dressing up is not only good for their personality – it can be key to developing cognitive skills, motor skills and vocabulary. Dressing up and acting a character requires children to remember and think about the ways in which they have seen other people acting, or how they imagine them to act. If they are playing a teacher or a mother or a doctor, they will call upon their memories of how these people talk and the move, the clothes they wear and the language they use. All this information – such as new words used – can then be applied to real-life situations.


Dressing up is also excellent for developing physical dexterity – from the smaller, fiddly aspects of tying strings and doing up buttons, to the more physical aspects of pretend play, such as running, jumping, pushing and pulling.


In short, dressing up as someone else could be the best way for your child to work out who they are – but let’s hope that does not apply to this year’s devil costume…


What do your little ones like to dress up as? Get in touch on Facebook or Twitter to let us know, or tag us in your Instagram pictures @little_woodpecker!