What Your Kids Should be Wearing: Under Where? Underwear!

This summer, our kids enjoyed endless days of swimsuits and naked booties. Unfortunately, those days are over. The summer heat will soon be a distant memory and cooler temperatures will be just around the corner. Of course, this means it’s time to switch out seasonal wardrobes. Chances are that you’ve already thought about the most obvious clothing related purchases (tops, bottoms, jackets, shoes, etc.) that your child may have outgrown, but have you given much thought to what your kids are wearing under their new threads? 

Whether your kids are going back to school or not, undergarments play an important role in a child’s wardrobe for several reasons. Today we’re looking at the top 4 reasons you need to pay attention to what your kids should be wearing with regard to underwear.

1. Keep that Core Warm

Once upon a time, doctors recommended that children should wear an undershirt of some kind between the months of September to May. Depending on where you live, that recommendation may need to be adjusted by a month or two (or thrown out completely if you live in Florida), but the premise is that as it gets colder, you should give your kids an extra layer of warmth.

This recommendation begins the moment your child is born as their circulation is not yet developed. Just use a simple undershirt (you probably received at least a few onesies during your baby shower) to keep warmth in, so that even while you are changing a diaper or their outfit, their middle is covered. 

Even if you’re hot, be sure to check your baby’s extremities. If their hands or feet are purple, you can effectively assume that your baby is NOT warm! With that said, use some common sense. There’s no sense in overdressing your infant either. Just as purple limbs would indicate cold, red or pink skin (and a lot of fussiness) often means they are too hot. 

2. Layering

Similar to babies, older children (toddlers, preschoolers, etc) should continue wearing an undershirt. The key reason being that as children get older, they become more responsible for dressing themselves. Kids typically can’t plan ahead. Therefore, an unsupervised child might put on a sweatshirt over his bare skin to warm up in the morning. However, as the day heats up, he will just take it off. While nakedness is adorable as a baby, young children should have some clothes on (even if it’s just a t-shirt and underwear), especially if they are of school age.

It’s our responsibility as parents to help our children understand how to dress appropriately. This means putting away summer clothing during cold months and helping our children understand that an undershirt is a foundational layer that shouldn’t be removed unless you are swimming or bathing. 

Insist that your children dress in layers! 

For example, during cooler months, we suggest the following wardrobe: 

  • Camisole or undershirt (foundation layer)
  • Underwear
  • Long Sleeve Shirt
  • Pants or leggings
  • Skirt with Tights or shorts/bloomer (girls)
  • Dress with Tights (girls)
  • Sweater or Coat when outside
  • Socks 
  • Closed-toe shoes (especially important while playing on the playground)
  • Hat and gloves (if it’s cold enough)

Dressing in layers allows your child to remove a layer if they get too hot, but it’s up to you to make sure they have appropriate clothing to start with.

3. Modesty

Many girls seem to hit a phase where they only want to wear dresses. While this can certainly save time at the potty, it can lead to embarrassment when a little boy in their class points out that he can see her underwear! And while we are all for encouraging our little girls to be just as active as little boys; they should not have to compromise their femininity or modesty in the process. 

Much like the recommendation of a camisole or undershirt has been ignored in recent years, when many little girls wear dresses, basic undergarments are forgotten. Sure your daughter can look like a well-dressed baby doll while she’s standing or sitting still, but what happens when she decides to act her age and play? 

Therefore, one of the most important things you can do for your little girl is to teach her how to wear the proper accessories with her favorite dress. Historically, girls (and women) wore bloomers (or pantaloons) under their dresses. These days, we are finding that many girls prefer to wear some sort of short (boy shorts, biker shorts, etc.). 

Better than bloomers, Hide-ees are an ingenius solution for moms with little girls who just can’t sit still. Made of a cotton/spandex blend, active girls and tweens (size 2 to 12, up to a ladies’ large) can wear Hide-ees shorts under dresses, skirts, uniforms, tutus and anything where a tiny bit of extra coverage is needed.

Solid color Hide-ees with a sweet ruffle are available in many different colors (and color combinations), so that when your daughter puts on a dress, she can just add a pair of matching or coordinating shorts and go! Or, if you have a school/sport uniform or an older daughter who prefers a more mature look, Hide-ees without a ruffle are also available.

4. Prevent Sexual Abuse

While we are in the process of training our kids to wear proper undergarments for the sake of modesty or keeping their bodies warm, we must also teach our children about the dangers of sexual abuse. We can prevent sexual abuse by properly dressing our children and having a few crucial conversations. 

Anything that is covered by underwear is private.
  • No one should ask to see or touch parts of the body covered by underwear or undershirts. In fact, most preschools insist that children over the age of 3 must be potty trained so that teachers and students are not put into a situation where sexual abuse could occur (not that we would ever suggest that a preschool teacher would abuse one of our children, but it could happen).
  • Furthermore, no one should ask your child to touch or look at parts of their body covered by underwear. Teach your child that if anyone suggests such a thing, that they should say no. This includes other kids their age. While “playing doctor” is innocent enough at 2 years old, be careful about how your kids are “exploring” as they get older. Sexual abuse can occur between peers, even if they don’t realize what they are doing.
  • Teach boys and girls not to “show off” parts of their body covered by underwear. In particular, boys should not play with their genitals in public. 
  • In some situations, such as mom and dad during bath time, or doctors and nurses during a check up, may need to touch your child’s private parts. Explain that while these situations are ok, the child should always be asked for permission first. 
Your child’s body belongs to them, and no one else.
  • No one has the right to make your child do anything with their body that makes them feel uncomfortable. 
  • Your child always has the right to say ‘no’ when they are uncomfortable, even to a family member or someone they love.
  • Teach your child that they are in control of their body and their feelings are respected. And, while there may be times in which you may need to overrule your child’s preferences to keep them safe, we also recognize that if a child feels empowered to say no to Mommy and Daddy, they are more likely to say no to others.

With all that said, underwear really does play a critical role in our wardrobes and it is up to us to teach our kids that what they wear from top to bottom is important. 

Undergarments aren’t the only articles of clothing your kids will need this school year. Find the perfect pair of shoes for your child in this year’s Back to School Shoe Guide. 

Photo Credits: Ashley SiskDonnie Ray Jones

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Ashley Sisk

Ashley lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children and Kitty Paw. She's a work-from-home mom with a natural light photography business and a passion for sharing everything she knows. Since leaving the corporate world, she now spends her time chasing her preschooler, nursing her new baby, writing and finding ways to enjoy life. You can find her on Facebook, Google + or on her website.

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