It is one of the fun freedoms homeschoolers have – to stay in their pyjamas all day. But I think it is more of a misconception than a reality for most homeschooling families and certainly for ours. The main reason why we get dressed in the morning is that we are training for life – the habits we establish in childhood will be the strongest through life. So we get dressed because:
- You are ready for your day – getting dressed helps you make a mental shift from go slow and lazy to doing what has to be done
- You learn that there are appropriate clothes for various parts of your life – pjs for sleeping/relaxing, work clothes for manual labour, smart clothes for business, casual clothes for everyday, party clothes for partying etc.
- You learn the importance of personal presentation and that first impressions count. Though we like the idea of being judged for our heart, reality is in life people will make decisions based on first appearances.
- Getting dressed shows respect to others around you. It tells them you are prepared to be with them.
- Your appearance affects your focus, productivity and standard of excellence. It is very easy to be sloppy when in sloppy clothes. It is a gradual slide, where at first it doesn’t seem to make any difference, and then little by little we let other things go.
When I was a child, if I was grumpy, my mum always sent us off to ‘get our smile’. My sister didn’t believe it made any difference so one day she checked it out. When mum sent her to go find her smile, she went to the bathroom to watch the transition (though she didn’t believe it would happen) and sure enough when she smiled she not only looked different, but she felt different. It is much the same when we get dressed.
As children, if we were sick and were staying home from school, mum always made us have a shower, change into fresh pjs and we were sent straight back to bed (and as a bonus, she always changed the sheets for us while we were in the shower so our bed was fresh too). If we weren’t feeling 100% – especially as teenage girls – she would encourage us to dress up a little, to take extra care, to wear something we felt great in. This attention to our externals has an affect on how we carry ourselves, our attitude to the world, and how we spend our time.
One of the lessons I’ve learnt from my mother in law is how she dresses for the activity. It is nothing for her to have a quick shower and change clothes for the next activity of her day. The lesson I have observed, and try to remember, is that it doesn’t really take that long to change if you need to. She often changes from gardening clothes to presentable going out, town clothes and then back into gardening clothes later in the afternoon. It takes her very little time. The key is to have your clothes already hanging in the wardrobe ready to go (not needing ironing like mine often do!)
Getting dressed might look different in different homes – we live in a hot climate and staying in our pjays isn’t about being warm and snuggly. I can easily imagine the temptation to stay warm in some climates. Flylady.net is very big on getting up and getting dressed – right to the shoes. Well, I’m a barefoot person myself, but I get dressed, right to the makeup!
The important thing to teach our kids is the way we dress affects our attitude towards our day- and what we do today, will affect how our kids live tomorrow.