I have a 3rd grader (girl) and a 1st grader (boy) – also two high school stepsons – all in public school. Many of my peers have decided to send their kids to charter or private schools and one of the first things they cite as a positive is having school uniforms. I’m not sure how I feel about this…
On the one hand, it certainly makes getting ready in the morning easier! I imagine it would also eliminate the arguments I have with my 9 year old daughter about the appropriateness of her clothing choices. No, I don’t think belly shirts, short-shorts or heels are OK. Yes, you must wear shorts under your skirts and no you may not wear makeup in third grade. Why do we have to have this conversation repeatedly?
I can also imagine your clothing budget would go down drastically if you only had to buy three school outfits and then a handful of items for the weekends.
On the other hand, I wonder if wearing uniforms lends itself to bowing to authority more readily? Does choosing your own clothing encourage independence and a stronger sense of self? Is it good to encourage expressing yourself through your own sense of style? The one example given by parenting classes of a choice you can give your kids no matter how young, is the choice of what to wear. So, why do they then backtrack when it comes to school and say uniforms are the way to go?
I often feel there is a corporate uniform that I need to wear at work. Dresses in a meeting? Not unless it has a straight skirt and is navy or black. Floral prints or blue jeans? Not if I want my ideas to be heard.
Are we giving our kids an advantage by teaching them to understand the “uniforms” they will be required to wear once adults at an early age?
Or should they stumble through the clothing mine field on their own, like I did?
I honestly don’t have an answer to this issue. Do you?
Have your kids worn uniforms? If so, what were the pros and cons?
*Originally posted in 2010, but I thought it was worth repeating.