Getting dressed

This is one of those tasks where sometimes your little one will try and do too much, and sometimes you will wish they would or could do more.

Getting dressed is surprisingly complicated – you have to coordinate a lot of action, balance, and remember what’s next all at the same time.

Here are some ideas to help develop the skills and make getting dressed a bit easier for everyone:

  • When learning to get dressed choose items that are easy for little hands to manage – stretchy fabrics, looser styles, bigger size, minimum fastenings, easy to identify front/back e.g. picture on the front label to the back.

  • Offer an element of choosing to maintain interest but not too many so as to overwhelm! Perhaps have them choose socks or a t-shirt.

  • When starting out with dressing skills choose a quieter time e.g. weekends or holidays when there is less of a time pressure to get out the door.

  • Talk through what you are doing e.g. “in goes an arm and push”, “socks on / socks off”, “where’s your hand?” “where’s _______? Oh! There s/he is!” (when pulling a garment over their head)
  • If you use the names of clothes, body parts and actions consistently each time, then your child will learn them, and be better able to take part – it is also great for learning vocabulary!