No matter their age, every child can learn to become much more independent. Having said that, learning how to get dressed requires patience, persistence, and practice from both you and your child, as well as getting to know the steps you have to go through in order to get dressed. So, here is a guide to teaching your kids how to dress themselves, that will make this process much easier for everyone involved.
Start with having your child remove their clothes
Putting clothes on can be harder than taking them off, so start with removing first. When you get home, ask them to take off their own shoes and jackets. Then when it’s bath time, encourage them to pull their own pants down and remove their socks.
Show them how to remove a shirt
The easiest way for your child to remove a shirt is to slip their arms out of the shirt sleeves, and then, with their hands inside, they can push the whole shirt off.
Let your child choose their own clothes
While it is up to you, as a parent, to buy good quality clothes from a trusted baby clothing store, let your child pick out some clothing items that they like might be a great option, as they develop a sense of independence and are, therefore, more eager to learn how to dress themselves.
Opt for elastic pants
Elastic pants are the easiest to pull on and off, which is why you should start with loose, comfortable pants first. Once your child has the hang of pulling pants up and down, teach them how to use button snaps. The last buttons to introduce are the most difficult ones – standard buttons with holes.
Have your child sit down while putting on bottoms
Putting on undies, socks, pants, and shoes can be difficult for your child to do while standing up. Encourage them to sit down instead, either on the floor or on a step, to put on or even remove clothes. While shoes can sometimes be easier to put on standing up, removing them is usually easier while sitting down.
Have your child push their arms through sleeves
One of the easiest steps, to begin with, is to guide your child through putting their arms through sleeves. Place the shirt over their head first, and then ask them to stretch their arms through the shirt’s sleeves.
Place hooded jackets on their head first
If you want to teach your child how to put a jacket on by themselves, have them put the hood of the jacket on their head first. That way they won’t confuse which sleeve goes on which arm.
Show them tell-tale signs of front and back
Speaking of which, your child will likely ask which the front is and which the back is. For many clothes, especially shirts and t-shirts, this will be quite obvious. But for some items, such as pants, your child may have a hard time distinguishing the right side. A few signs to point out are tags and labels, which go in the back, strings on elastic pants that go in the front, as well as the fact that side pockets are in the front, while square pockets go in the back.
Lay out their clothes in order
Whether they are pajamas or clothes for the day, lay them out on the child’s bed in the order they should put them on. For bedtime, place undies, pajama bottoms, pajama tops, and finally socks on their bed. Make sure all of the clothes are facing up, so your child knows which the front is and which the back is.
Encourage older children to button their own shirts
Once your child knows how to use buttons, have them button their own shirts. It doesn’t matter if you have to fix a few mismatched buttons; the only way your child will learn how to do it on their own is by having the chance to do so.