Parenting: How to Make Hand-Me-Downs Desirable for Kids

parentingages and stages

If you have several kids, it's tempting to pass down an older sibling's outgrown clothes to a younger child. However, some kids balk at the idea of wearing their older sibling's hand-me-downs. Fortunately, there are several ways you can make hand-me-down kids clothing more appealing to your younger children:

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How to Make Hand-Me-Downs Desirable for Kids

Make It New Again

Depending on the age of the child, it's easy to make an older sibling's clothing new again. Just hide the items away for a month or two before bringing them back out. They'll get the thrill of new clothes without feeling like they got something straight off their sibling's back.

Add Items One at a Time

Instead of giving your child an entire wardrobe of already-worn kids clothes, add one or two items at a time to their closet. Help them work the clothes into their existing wardrobe before adding additional pieces. This can help ease the transition into wearing their older sibling's clothes.

Explain Why They're Special

The term "hand-me-down" can feel demeaning to children, especially when it comes to kids clothing. Instead of trying to hide the fact that it was worn by their older sibling, tell them about all the memories and fun times the older kid had in that particular dress or shirt. Make it a bonding moment, rather than something to be upset about. Being cheerful and positive can go a long way toward influencing a child's attitude.

Make Sure the Clothes Fit Properly

Nobody wants to wear clothing that is ill-fitting. Before you add hand-me-down clothing to your child's regular rotation, make sure it fits well. Basic sewing skills will help you adjust the clothes to fit. Hemming pants and skirts is simple, as is taking in dresses. Replace any missing buttons and make sure zippers are all in working order.

Offer New Accessories

Make the thought of hand-me-down clothes more appealing by letting them purchase a couple new, trendy accessories to go with their "new" outfits. A sparkly headband or new bracelet can give new life to old clothes and helps your child make the clothes their own. Other items that can help bring new life to old clothes are colorful tights, great shoes, or a cozy sweater.

Make It Trendy

Kids clothes from a few years ago may look dated. Ask your child about the trends at school, and then help them modify the clothes to be trendier. This helps them feel like they'll fit in and can make hand-me-downs more palatable. This can be as simple as hemming a skirt to be an inch or two shorter.

Help Them Make It Their Own

People are people, and it's only natural that your child wants to develop their own wardrobe and identity. Rather than insisting they wear their older sibling's clothes as-is, help them make some modifications to make the old clothes suit their style. Spice up a plain t-shirt with some ribbons or a glitter applique. Make an old dress new again by dyeing it in the child's favorite color. Kids clothes are easy to modify. It's cheaper to add a few embellishments than to purchase all new items each year. Look for inspiration in magazines and department stores, then embellish away!

Hand-me-down clothes don't have to be awful. Make them more desirable for your children by following these simple steps. You'll have fewer fights and will be able to stretch your clothing budget a little farther.

 What do you do to make your kids excited about hand-me-downs?

Erin Martin is a guest writer from KidSource blog and a freelance writer for Carter’s & OshKosh clothing. She loves writing about creative crafts and style for kids and has been a contributor on a variety of blogs on these topics.

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.
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