Childhood Development & Dress Up Opportunities – Benefits Of Dressing Up At All Ages
Every child loves dressing up as someone or something else, which is why Halloween is a favorite holiday for most kids today. The ability to put on a fancy princess dress and tiara or cowboy boots with spurs provides a lot of enjoyment for children and can occupy them for hours at a time, but there are also some benefits in terms of the development of the child.
Playing dress up is a great way to boost self-confidence in a child because they learn that they can do a lot of things on their own. For instance, a child who puts on a leotard and pretends to be an Olympic gymnast may start trying to do cartwheels and learn they actually can do one!
Dress up is essentially role play, which is an activity used by a lot of therapists with children as well as adults. Children who role play a wide variety of roles gain confidence in themselves as they feel they are capable of accomplishing great things.
Socialization Practice If you take the time to organize dress up parties with neighborhood kids or invite a friend or two over for a dress up play date, you can teach children excellent socialization skills as well. While in costume they will have tons of fun without even realizing they are being taught social etiquette lessons, such as how to be polite and get along with others.
Solving Problems Role playing with costumes can also be used to help children solve problems. This is especially useful with older children who need to work with more serious issues. For instance, a child who is trying to work up the courage to stand up for themselves against a bully at school may boost their confidence by role playing the situation in costume at home. Literally any problem a child comes up against could be solved through dress up time at home! This is a great way for parents to interact with children and communicate messages without going into lectures that the child tunes out. When it’s done through play, children will listen!
Creativity Children love dressing up as different human roles such as doctors and firemen, but there is also a lot of value in dressing up as animals and other non-human costumes.
There are a wide variety of childrens fancy dress costumes that encourage creative play, such as fairies and dinosaurs. Or, you can simply create your own costumes from clothing picked up at thrift stores or various pieces from different costumes combined together.
Children who are allowed to dress up without interference from anyone else will become the most creative as they are free to choose outfits that appeal to them and act out their own scenes created in their own minds.
Exploring Personality Children who dress up are allowed to explore various aspects of their personalities. They learn what it feels like to act out different emotions, talk in different tones, and move their bodies in a wide variety of ways. They come to learn more about themselves and become more in tune with their own bodies, likes and dislikes.
The most benefit from dress up and role play comes when children are encouraged to dress up from an early age and are provided with lots of costume options.
Give them the tools to grow and they will turn into amazing adults one day! If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of using theatre and role playing for child development, the NCDT can help you further your understanding, and offers opportunities for training in the dramatic arts.