Your initial reaction might probably be ‘Why, up of course; it’s how I always wore them as a boy.’
If only today’s reality was that simple. Sadly, children from polite society are constantly under attack from less privileged circles bent on deriding them for their elitist views and traditions. Such influence must obviously make it increasingly difficult for them to submit to those in authority, particularly their parents. Endeavouring to do their best by their children, these parents are struggling to maintain their standards and expectations. It must be disheartening when occasionally their efforts are met with disappointment and – in some cases – unpleasantness, with their offspring insisting they dress up like their favourite TV idols or chavs from the neighbouring estate, rather than complying with their conservative rules.
What do you do? Firstly, stick to your guns. It is no use you insisting on a rule one minute, only for you to deviate from it days later - or when the going gets tough. Better that your son recognises your unwavering values, than for him to suffer confusion over your indecisiveness.
Yet, the last thing you want is for him to rebel because of your incessant nagging.
I mean, you may encourage him to keep his socks pulled up, even going as far as providing him with garters to prevent them from falling down. Yet, please remember that children love to push the boundaries, which is why –
Irrespective of the laws governing your son’s dress code – you will often find them bunched around his ankles the moment he enters those school gates in the morning, or leaves the house to visit a friend. It is their way of adopting an identity or succumbing to peer-pressure, as in the case of the much-loved fictional character, Just William.
Nevertheless, in William’s case, his parents were continuously banging on about his sloppy attire which in turn culminated in a negative rather than a positive outcome. The more they insisted that he wore them neatly pulled up and turned over, the more he rebelled and did the opposite.
Just a gentle reminder here and there will suffice. In this way, you will have at least planted a standard and expectation in his mind for him to aim for and provided he understands the clear reasons behind it; exactly why we adopted the motto: ‘dress smart, think smart!”
Here, the emphasis is on the psychology behind the reason, namely, how we dress can affect the way we behave.
Personally, as somebody once remarked, the time to worry is when you discover your son’s long socks about his ankles at the school gate when you call to collect him at the end of the day. It would certainly cause me to question the school’s attitude towards uniform and their general expectations of their pupils.
The time of year may also be a contributing factor. While a number of prep schools today boast both a summer and winter uniform, with long socks for the colder months and ankle socks for the warmer seasons, not all schools follow this rule. I know of at least a handful which has just the one uniform with knee socks worn throughout the year - irrespective of the weather.
You could understand it if your child is complaining of feeling too hot and is compromising by pushing down his socks to ward off the offending heat. In situations like these, it may be worth you approaching the school and asking for a uniform review to include ankle socks during the summer as your son is saying he is too hot.
Furthermore, even before contacting the school, you may want to solicit the opinions of other parents. You may find that you’re not alone. In this way, you could then present a united front which may have more of an impact than if you approached it on your own.
However, if it is the case that your son’s appearance seems unnecessarily careless at the end of the school day because of a lack of in-house discipline, then it is time for more decisive action.
In any event, I’d love to hear your suggestions and thoughts on the subject.
Meanwhile, thank you for reading.
Besides being a practical garment one wears to safeguard one's clothes against stains, spills and in certain cases, permanent damage, an apron serves to mark the start and end of a given activity; something one puts on at the outset and discards at the finish.
This is of particular importance in a child's case. They quickly learn to associate a craft or cooking session with the wearing of an apron provided the habit is introduced at the start, irrespective of whether they understand its true significance initially. The wearing of an apron is something which they come to put on as a matter of routine, just as one would do a coat when it is raining. All those other reasons as to why this is necessary will become evident as they develop cognitively.
In this - and subsequent guides - we'll explore the many styles of aprons available on the market and their respective fabrics, I.e.: PVC, Cotton, polyester, etc, as well as their individual fabric characteristics such as tare strength, durability, flammability and waterproofing, since these all play a vital role in the decision-making process.
Creating the right Experience
It may seem like a simple task, but how we introduce our child to their first apron could have either a negative or positive outcome.
part of the decision-making process requires you knowing your child's likes and dislikes. What is his or her favourite colour, for example? Is there a particular fictional character they follow and admire? If so, then maybe choosing their first apron on this basis will undoubtedly culminate in creating the right experience for your child. Rather than shying away from the apron, they will be keen to wear it.
Children with aspergers tendencies or with inclinations towards claustrophobia may react unfavourably to wearing an apron, particularly if it restricts them in any way. EG.: feels too tight, or they cannot discard independently whenever the need arises.
Hence, it is imperative we approach wisely. A wrong step - however meaningful - could lead to your child taking a dislike to the apron and - worse still - to its associated activity in turn. Why the activity? Because he or she will undoubtedly have come to recognise the connections between the task and its related clothing - the apron in this case.
Aprons with shorter halter straps often prove problematic since they constrict about the face in the donning process as you attempt to place it over their heads which can invariably cause he or she to panic.
Studies indicate that bad experiences in early infancy often turn out to be the most memorable and thus hardest to rectify - depending on the circumstances and level of the trauma.
However, for the purposes of this and all other subsequent guides, I would much rather we focused on the positive steps by showing you how to derive the maximum benefits from choosing your age-related apron for your child, through to introducing them to it for the first time.
Choosing the right Apron
With so many aprons on the market today, choosing the right one for your child can often be overwhelmingly difficult to say the least. Needless to say, buying the right apron may perhaps require a little process of elimination, starting with the age of your child to the type of activities for which the apron would ultimately be required.
Assuming your child is of walking age and approaching three years old, it is probably to his or her advantage if you introduced them to a simple straight-forward tabard in either PVC or cotton drill, before graduating to the bib variety with side ties.
Firstly, tabards - because of their very nature - protect both back and front. All depending on the activities - painting, cooking, or colouring, we would strongly advocate the PVC. Not only is the PVC more durable than the polycotton, but it requires incredibly low maintenance; a quick wipe down with a damp cloth at the finish is all that is required.
In addition, it is much easier to place over your child's head since the openings tend to be much wider than your conventional halter strap.
The other selling feature of these tabards is their side fastenings.
Both our polycotton and PVC tabards come complete with durable plastic spring fasteners, deliberately set at the right angle and thus enabling your child to fasten and unfasten them independently.
In the following guide, I'll introduce you to the cross-over tie apron and talk a little more about some of the important fabric compositions.
Meanwhile, thank you for reading and please feel free to leave a comment below.
Combating the Problem of Over-Sized Halter Straps
What do we mean by 'fixed halter?' A Fixed halter apron is a style of apron in which the halter strap (or head loop) is stitched firmly to either side of the upper half of the garment, thus leaving you precious few options for adjusting the fit; unless you happen to be good with a needle and thread and can detach, shorten and re-attach the halter strap successfully.
One major problem with a fixed halter apron is that - if worn tied around the waist - can often pose a huge issue for the wearer. What you often find is that, if the strap is too long originally, you are invariably left with inches of clothing between the top of the bib and the neck uncovered as demonstrated in the photograph.
In a child's case, this particular area of clothing is the region most likely to sustain most mess, whether through eating, cooking or craft activities.
Admittedly, while the majority of today's washing detergents have the power of ridding most items of clothing of their stains and spills at low temperatures, certain substances - depending on their nature - may take several washes before they disappear completely. And we all know what happens to garments subjected to frequent washing? Fabric quality deteriorates and colours start to fade, leaving parents saddled with the added expense of purchasing replacement items of uniform, something which we know most families would rather do without in today's present economic climate.
To assist you in this regard, we have come up with three practical tried and tested solutions which have benefited consumers in the past.
One way to combat the problem of aprons with over-sized halter straps is by running one of the side ties up through the halter before knotting. This has the effect of raising the apron up to the child's neck and subsequently covering those upper regions normally exposed when fastened at the waist. Furthermore, this practical method also ensures loose clothing such as ties, etc, are held in place.
Another practical solution would be for you to purchase a similar apron with an adjustable halter strap. Such a purchase would afford you the flexibility of shortening or lengthening the height of the apron accordingly, by simply manipulating the strap in the plastic ladder/metal ring until you achieve the desired distance.
While the plastic adjusters in most cases seem the most easier of the two solutions to work with, the metal variety by their very design tend to be more durable - despite being the most awkward of the two options given their lack of security and spring tension.
A velcro fastening halter strap is probably another practical alternative for your younger child, perhaps, with their flexibility and complete lack of fasteners for you to negotiate. Unfortunately, their adhesion does tend to lose its strength after a while - and often before the rest of the apron wares out.
A third option may be for you to consider investing in something known as a 'cross tie apron', a standard bib apron which we have adapted for the younger end of the market; primarily those in the 3 to 7 year old age category.
A 'cross tie apron' - as the name suggests - is a standard apron very much like a large child's bib to look at. Instead of the halter strap, the apron comprises extra long neck ties which are attached one to each side of the neck seam that cascade over the shoulders and cross over at the back and threaded through side grommets sewn at the waist before finally secured in the customery manner.
In this way, the child's clothing receives maximum protection from neck to mid thigh or there about depending on the size of the apron purchased initially.
We would be happy to supply you with a free sample of one of these 'cross tie aprons' in return for a 50/100-word product review subject to availability.
These cross tie aprons may be purchased in PVC or cotton drill. At the time of writing, we only have PVC ones in stock.
Naturally, we'd love for you to share with us your own experiences. Perhaps you've bought a similar apron in the past for your son or daughter with a fixed large halter strap which - when placed over the head - left a considerable portion of their upper body un protected. What did you do?
In the following guide, we'll discuss apron fabric characteristics as well as how you can spot the difference between genuine and counterfeit alternatives.
Meanwhile, thank you for reading.