How to dress our kids?
A contemporary scholar was asked this question and replied: “Dress them as you would want them to dress when they grow up…”
When you hear this it makes perfect sense, yet I have not thought of it this way before… Since God says in the Qur’an, “There is no compulsion in religion”, I would not force my kids to dress modestly. Yet I would like to instill these values in her when she is young, so that God willing, she would want to dress modestly when is old enough (post-puberty) to be responsible/accountable for her own decisions.
The best way I can think of to instill modesty in her is:
a) both parents examplify it AND
b) dress her modestly so she acquires this taste…
If we dress her in un-modest clothing till the day she enters puberty, how can we expect her to make the decision to dress modestly overnight?
Since God says Islam (submission to God’s will) is in our nature (fitrah), modesty must be in our nature as well. So when we dress our little kids un-modest, we are essentially altering/corrupting their nature. We are rapturing their sense of shyness/haya.
They have a taste for beauty, cleanliness, purity from birth. But they are impressionable as well. We develop their sense of what is beautiful and what is desirable by the things we wear and what we buy for them.
If all kids clothing has glitter on it, that is what they want and think is appropriate/beautiful. Sorry, but glitter is tacky and certainly not for a toddler, who should rather be in comfortable, natural clothing climbing up trees.
If the fashion industry is corrupting our kids by making ‘sassy’ girls’ clothing (like the ruffled mini skirts this summer), we are responsible not to buy them and to teach our kids that that is not appropriate.
It is in fact sooo much easier than you might think. Make sure you buy cute, innocent kids’ clothing from day 1. It becomes harder as they grow older since the clothing for toddler girls has become mini versions of women’s clothing (or rather street women’s clothing).
There are certain places like Gymboree or even Circo (the Target brand) that sells somewhat more appropriate clothes for kids. Since it is not easy to run into modest clothing (especially for girls), when I find one at a good price, I buy her multiple sizes to wear as she grows up.
If she asks to wear a cute dress that is not too appropriate, then you can buy it and have her wear it at home. We began this early on so my daughter now has a sense of it. Especially because she sees how I dress at home and outside, she can distinguish more or less what is ‘home clothing’ and what is for outside…
Insha’allah if we do this lovingly, and we pick nice but modest clothes for them from early on, they will willingly and happily acquire this taste too…