My kids changed schools this year, and that means they no longer have a dress code. One of my selling points for the new school was that my sons could wear T-shirts and sweat pants every day—and after spending their entire school career in polos and khakis, they are reveling in the pure enjoyment of casual wear.
Sweatpants are wonderful things. They are soft and warm and don’t need ironing. Sweats are so delightful that you can sleep in them quite happily.
Which my children do. Every night. And wear them the next day.
Come on—we’ve all slept in a T-shirt and worn it the next day, or at least I have. They haven’t hit puberty yet, they shower at night (at least occasionally) and I see no reason why I can’t bask in the care-free freedom that dressing my children at night affords me, at least until they hit puberty and get stinky.
Either after their shower or at bedtime, they pick out their clothes for the next day and put them on, then they crawl into bed and go to sleep. They aren’t frolicking in the yard, making messy art projects, or playing hockey. They are just sleeping.
Mornings are smoother. We all get to sleep in a little longer. They still have to brush their hair and teeth—I’m not a monster. But yes, my children roll out of bed fully dressed and I’m completely fine with it.
You know who’s not fine with it? My SigO. (And let’s be honest—their father probably wouldn’t be down with my minimal effort parenting, but Mama’s house, Mama’s rules, and I don’t think he reads my blogs. Or so I hope.)
But look—The American Academy of Dermatology agrees with me! (Well, sort of.) They at least agree that children don’t need that much washing.
They recommend that children ages 6-11 get washed:
- At least once or twice a week. (Done.)
- When they get dirty, such as playing in the mud. (Always. Or Probably Always.)
- After being in a pool, lake, ocean, or other body of water. (I kind of treat the pool as an outdoor bath, may need to rethink that one.)
- When they get sweaty or have body odor. (No one likes a stinky kid.)
- As often as directed by a dermatologist if getting treated for a skin disease. (Sounds like solid advice.)
If we can all agree that kids aren’t all that dirty (hand washing aside, I am a big believer in that) and if they aren’t getting any dirtier sleeping, why can’t they sleep in their clothes? After all, I kept them in sleeper pajamas all day and night when they were infants, and they survived. This is just the opposite side of the equation.
Note: if your kid is a night-sweater, this might not apply. If your kid is a night-sweater and also school age, you probably have some sort of morning washing routine already in place. Seeing as your kid has to take their clothes off to shower, this hack does not apply to your situation.
Look—we have all seen full-grown people at Wal-Mart and other locations walking around in pajama pants. This is either a fashion faux-pas or highly evolved thinking, depending on which way you look at it, but certainly any fashion blunder could have been avoided if these people slept in sweat pants instead of plaid flannel PJ bottoms.
Let’s look at what The National Sleep Foundation recommends for sleepwear and how it compares to our pairing of a T-shirt and sweat pants:
“First and foremost, choose sleepwear that feels good when you put it on.”
“…looser pajamas move more easily over your body when you sleep…”
Totally check. Unless, I suppose, you believe in wearing tight sweatpants. In our house, we do not.
“Elements like buttons, snaps, and tags can become problematic…”
It’s as if they are making my case for me.
So kids aren’t that dirty, sleeping in sweats and a T-shirt is practically recommended, what other reason could there be for not letting your kid—ahem, my kid—sleep in tomorrow’s clothes?
Ironing, according to my SigO. They might wake up wrinkled. Now, I have two boys, and to be completely honest, I never notice if they need ironing.
I have to monitor their entire heads—hair, face, teeth—as well as at least occasionally look at the state of their fingernails and that’s about all I can handle. Besides, it’s still cold in northeastern Ohio, and adding a sweatshirt to their ensembles hides any wrinkly T-shirt issues.
Look, I know that puberty is right around the corner, and then my whole world is going to change. Why can’t I enjoy the last little bit of hygiene-slacking while I still I can?
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