Okay, back to school time is upon us and boy, have I found that shopping with a tween is a whole new ballgame. In previous years, I would order whatever I liked online or pick up items in store, and my daughter would wear them. Simple as that.
But now, she has an opinion. //Imagine that//
We are also working with uniform constraints, which adds an additional layer of complication. (Post coming soon on how to make uniforms less boring!)
Here are my tried and true tips for a nightmare free shopping experience for both mom and tween alike.
1. Don't Wait till the Last Minute
This applies to everything from swimsuit shopping to back to school clothes. I have found if I'm under a time crunch things never go well. I'm agitated and stressed, and it only gets worse as she exerts her opinions and dislikes items I think are perfectly fine. Shop early and if you can, and shop one on one. This can change the atmosphere and turn a potentially frustrating situation into a fun mom + me outing.
2. Shop Online
This is a great option if you have other kids at home and a one-on-one shopping trip is out of the question. As my daughter has gotten more web savvy, this method proves the best time saver for me. I log-in to our favorite website, and let her go crazy with the "add to cart" button. Then, we go through the items and narrow down our top picks. I attempt to shop at places online that offer free shipping and free in-store returns. When the items arrive, we have a try-on session at home. We make one pile for returns and one for keeps. Yes, you do have to make a trip to the store to return items, but I find this process quicker than hauling my kids into the mall for only the possibility of finding the items we need.
3. Give Specific Guidelines
We have some rules about dress and what styles are appropriate. We like to avoid sassy or rude graphic tees. We avoid items that reveal under-garments, either by material, make/color or style. Sometimes for bigger ticket items like shoes and winter coats, I like to give a price range that I'm comfortable with. Zoe is aware of these guidelines, which means she knows to shop within those perimeters. Also, before we go shopping I tell her what specific items we are looking for. This helps cut down on the "But it's SO cute!!!" comments where she begs for a $30 avocado shaped pillow.
4. Give a Free Pass
As a general rule, Mom has ultimate veto, based on the guidelines and the fact that I'm paying for the clothes. However, I'm working at letting Zoe grow into who she wants to be and part of that is letting her chose her wardrobe. While our styles align well, there is always an item or two that meets the guidelines, but I'm just not crazy about (flip sequins, anyone??). When we are doing a major shopping trip like back to school or "I-grew-out-of-EVERYTHING-in-the-last-6-weeks", I try to allow her one free pass on an item that meets all the criteria, but I'm just not in love with. In recent years, the free pass item was a pair of neon orange tennis shoes. They assaulted my eyes but she adored them and wore them all the time. The free pass item can help smooth out the compound rejection on a shopping trip.
Do you have any shopping with tweens tips? I'd love to hear them + add them to my list.