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How to Teach My Child to Dress Himself

From an early age, your little one is interested in getting naked and getting dressed and this is a good time to help him learn to do it himself every morning.

Children often quickly master that nudity, this gives you the confidence you need for the next step, getting dressed. Children become much more independent if they can dress. Self-sufficiency increases self-esteem and self-confidence.

Why Your Child Needs to Learn to Dress

  • Learning to dress increases your little one’s confidence and independence and gives them a sense of accomplishment.
  • In addition, getting dressed helps your child develop many other skills, including:
  • Fine motor skills as you learn to hold buttons and zippers gross motor skills while standing on one leg to pull a pair of pants
  • Cognitive skills like remembering which pieces of clothing go first, and building patience and attention to finish the task
  • Language as she names clothing types, colors and sizes
  • Knowledge of time and space as you learn to dress for certain occasions and weather conditions.

How can you help your child learn to dress himself? How can you teach him how to put on underpants and socks in an easy way?

Dressing is one of the basic skills of self-sufficiency, but not one of the easiest skills. The dressing is often accompanied by frustration and tantrums.

How to encourage my child to be independent

There are big differences between children when it comes to self-sufficiency. There are children who advance rapidly on their own. They prefer to take care of things themselves. If a mother offers them help, they will stubbornly reject her. They take pride in being able to do things for themselves, even if they have their boots tucked on and their underpants upside down.

Other children, on the other hand, prefer that their mother do everything for them. They look lazy. They may not yet master certain actions, but they sure lack the development drive to master new skills.

Differences in temperament cannot be erased. It doesn’t make much sense to say at what age children should do something for themselves. Some are faster than others. That doesn’t have to be a problem. Except if the motivation to progress is lacking. Then parents should stimulate.

Children have to grow up and learn to fend for themselves. You have to give the child the time and space to learn things. Sometimes parents have to slow down so as not to help because otherwise, we are causing them to delay in learning. When children are able to do things for themselves, they should do it. The most positive thing is to supervise them by letting them do it alone.

Encouraging independence should not make the child feel like they are losing something. Therefore, independence must bring with it something positive. The attention and love he normally received through basic care must be shown in a new way.


Tips and strategies to help you dress yourself

-Initially, provide loose clothing (slightly larger clothes), without difficult closures.

-You can make a guide with icons, in which the order of dressing and/or undressing is visible.

At first, it’s easy to put on clothes while sitting on the floor or on a stool with your back against the wall. Children with a lower sense of balance certainly benefit from this.

Puede practice for a period with the same zipper or button and buttonhole so you can sharpen the movement. Sometimes, in case of problems, you can help by trying with another garment, the closure of which works slightly differently and easily for the child.

– It is positive to promote the motivation to dress giving your child a wide choice and having clothes arranged for their own taste.

Let him practice playing by trying and matching different pieces of clothing for example. Dressing and dressing dolls or stuffed animals can also help.

Garments with large buttons and a long thread are easier than garments with small buttons and a short thread. If necessary, you can replace the buttons of a garment or loosen them and sew the buttons, but with a longer thread.

– If your little one has a lot of problems with buttons, you can choose to sew Velcro on clothes temporarily. This ensures the successful experiences needed to dress independently and ensures that you remain motivated to practice with other closures, for example at other times, or at a later time in development. Wooden rope closures are usually easier for children than round knots.

If, for example, you have difficulty understanding that part of a garment is in front or behind and/or left and right, a “mark” can be applied to clothing or shoes. A yellow dot on the shoe means right foot and another color means left foot. This also allows you to indicate what the back is with a dot on the collar of a T-shirt.

Dressing requires some preparation on your part. Place clothes in the right order, so your child knows which garment to start with.

Of course, dressing independently is not usually an instant success. This requires a lot of patience and discipline on your child’s part. Since you’re probably also in the middle of childhood puberty, setbacks can evoke a lot of anger and frustration. Approach your child in a positive way and ignore tantrums.

Make time

  • Leave a realistic amount of time to get dressed.
  • If you’re often rushed in the morning, try choosing clothes with your child the night before.
  • When you’re in a hurry, let your child do the easy homework and help her with the hard tasks.
  • Practice getting dressed when you and your child aren’t in a hurry or tired.

Speak aloud

Narrate each step, so your child has words for what you’re doing. Sleeves, hem, waist, neck, etc. are great words to add to a child’s daily vocabulary. This way, as they begin to get better at dressing, you can help them by talking through the hard parts, rather than jumping with hands-on assistance.

Aside from the self-dressing piece, these words can empower children to describe their clothing and their preferences and tastes. Maybe they’ll tell you why they refuse to wear that adorable sweater you bought from them with so much love.

The most important thing in this process is compliments. Give him the feeling of pride, even if his clothes fit him as they should. Could it be that the shirt is upside down, but who cares? He put it on himself! And that’s a great achievement! Even if the shirt is upside down.


All the information we give you in this article is indicative as each child and each family is different and unique.


Carolina González Ramos

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