Tips for Teaching Your Child How To Dress Themselves

Tips for Teaching Your Child How To Dress Themselves

Parents have many important lessons to impart to their little ones. Teaching children essential life skills is crucial to their development, as it helps them become more independent as they age into young adults. One fundamental skill for kids to pick up is the ability to make choices, which they can learn early.

Teaching your child how to dress themselves is one way to start building those decision-making abilities at a young age. Read on to discover some practical tips on how to accomplish this skill.

Work Backward

It’s easier for a child to undress than dress, so begin by teaching them how to take off their clothes. Begin with baggy, short-sleeved shirts and shorts with an elastic waistband to prevent your child from getting stuck.

Shirt Guidelines

  1. Instruct the child to grab the sleeve on the opposite side with their dominant hand.
  2. Help the child maneuver their arm through the sleeve.
  3. Assist them with grabbing the bottom of the shirt and taking it off.

Shorts Guidelines

  1. Have your child hook their thumbs into the elastic waistband.
  2. Help them pull the shorts down until they pass their behind.
  3. Instruct your child to sit on their bed and pull the shorts off all the way.

Putting On Clothes

Once your child has grasped the essential life skill of undressing themselves, they can move on to getting dressed. Here is some practical advice to assist your child with getting dressed.

Shirt Guidelines

  1. Give your child a shirt and put it over their head.
  2. Instruct your child to pull it down so that their head goes through the hole.
  3. Assist your child with getting their hands into each sleeve.
  4. Encourage your child to move their arm into the sleeve.
  5. Instruct your child to pull their shirt into place.

Pants Guidelines

  1. Tell your child to maneuver their feet into the holes of the shorts while sitting.
  2. Let your child pull the shorts up from the elastic waistband.
  3. When the shorts reach their thighs, instruct them to stand and pull them up into place.

Give Appropriate Choices

One important tip for teaching your child how to dress themselves is giving them choices that make sense. Our little ones can sometimes make silly decisions if given total freedom, like wanting to wear a bathing suit to preschool.

At this stage, it’s best to offer this-or-that options appropriate for the season and occasion.

An example might sound like this:

  • “Do you want to wear the shirt with the dinosaur or the shirt with the monkey?”

As your child grows, they’ll be able to make more choices, and likely can pick something appropriate from different options in their closet. They can also learn to wear more complicated clothes, like shirts and pants with buttons.

Find User-Friendly Shoes

A key element in finding shoes is ensuring they’re user-friendly for your child. Refrain from choosing options with laces, as it will still be a few years until your child learns how to tie their shoes. Velcro shoes are a great option for toddlers.

Your child’s shoes should be flexible to help ensure comfort. Our little ones grow fast, so you want footwear that takes that fact into consideration. It’s best to have a bit of wiggle room for their toes. Be mindful that the shoe isn’t too large, though, or else it won’t stay on their feet.

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