Your tot is whiny, cranky and in a grumpy mood. Can what she’s wearing really lift her spirits? Possibly. While colour isn’t a quick fix to nix temper tantrum and whine-fueled woes, research says that it can have an impact on mood.
There’s no one easy explanation as to why and how colour affects us. People create their own associations with colours based on personal experiences as well as what culture and society tells us. For example, red is often associated with a stop sign or stop light. When you see it, you might automatically have that ‘danger, stop right now’ response. Some colours, such as red, also carry an overall sense of mood with them. Bright vivid hues may make you feel excitement or energy, while more subdued colours such as moss green or pastel blue give off a tranquil feeling. These lighter colours may even lower heart rate or reduce anxiety.
How can you use colour psychology to dress your child for mood success? It depends on the situation. You’re not likely to find a colour catch-all that covers every child in every scenario. While a subtle seafoam blue-green may be calming in general, it probably won’t keep your child’s mood on low when she’s running around the playground or in the midst of a jump party in a bouncy house. That said, if your child is all energy all the time, you might want to lean towards the calmer colours. Pick those pastels or nature-inspired shades. At the same time, avoid vibrant rainbows of colour. A bold red t-short paired with an equally as bright yellow skirt ignites excitement, and doesn’t inspire tranquility.
What about those times when you actually want to fuel your child up with energy? Pull out those reds and yellows. Oranges, bright (not mossy or sage) greens and hot pinks also give kids a little extra kick when it comes to mood. If sports are on the agenda or you’re headed out for a busy day filled with walking, running, hiking or romping around the park, also stick with bolds and brights. When it’s time to chill-out at the library or have a calm evening out for dinner, opt for those low-key light hues and natural tones.
Choosing colours to change your child’s mood doesn’t mean going completely one way or the other. Something as simple as a sun yellow sweater can equal happy, energetic feelings just as easily when it’s paired with show-stopping orange cords as when it’s topping neutral or black leggings. Prints also provide another go-to way to perk up (or calm down) your little one’s mood. If an all-red outfit is just too much for your child’s fashion taste, go with a red polka dot print or look for a striped pattern that includes the bold shade.
Keep in mind, individual associations are key in the colour-mood connection. If yellow makes your child think of her favorite naptime blanket, it may not give her that extra sense of energy.
Did your child put together a mood-boosting colour-filled outfit? Show us her fashion sense, so that we can inspire other parents with her imaginative eye! Submit your colour mood fashion photos to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for us to share.