The skill to Dressing with little people
‘Dressed to skill’ is a play on words from ‘Dressed to kill’ but when talking dressing skills with toddlers; it’s about bringing it back to basics.
Easy to do but hard to teach.
It’s such an important skill children need to learn to develop their independence.
For many children and their parents, learning this skill can be a long and frustrating process!
To make it a smooth process for all, it helps to practice the regularly and approached it with much patience and encouragement.
As in any new task, the children are guaranteed to make mistakes and get frustrated, but the following tips will help to make this process easier for everyone:
Tips and Tricks to dressing skills
- Teach undressing first as this is an easier skill to learn than dressing.
- Practice dressing at the same time each day, ideally when the child is at their best.
- Be patient and try to leave extra time so the child does not feel rushed.
- Avoid busy days, this will just lead to melt downs.
- If possible, practice dressing in the same location to minimise distractions and interruptions.
- Lay out the clothes so they are ready for child to put on.
- Begin with clothing where the front and back are obvious (e.g. clear labels, bright, coloured openings of socks).
- Loose fitting clothes are easier to manage than tight fitting clothing.
- Begin with shorts and short sleeve shirts as these are easier to manage than pants and long sleeve shirts.
- Interest your child in the easier jobs while you do the hard ones.
- When the child gets tangled up or confused, don’t take over; simply straighten their clothes out so that they can continue to try to themselves.
- Be as consistent as you can with the dressing task. For example, encourage the child to start with the same side of the body each time.
- Use prompt sheets with pictures or words to help your child remember the sequence of the task.
- Encourage young children or those with poor core strength to sit down when dressing.
And lastly look for specially designed dolls or fabric books that allow little hands to practice zipping, buttoning, snapping, and tying.
Teach it backwards
As crazy as it sounds, it is often helpful to teach the last part of the task first.
Just like when a child first learns to make a sandwich.
It is likely that the adult butters the bread and creates the filing and then the child puts the last piece of bread on top, so too the same can be done with dressing.
In the case of dressing though, learn the steps in reverse one at time by first breaking it down into steps. For example, the steps for putting on pants would be:
- Pick up pants by waistband
- Lower pants and lift up leg
- Put left leg into pant hole
- Put right leg into pant hole
- Pull pants up to knees
- Stand and pull pants to waist
Once the dressing task has been broken down into steps you can start teaching the child the last step first.
For putting pants on you would do steps one to five for the child and encourage them to do step six.
Once they have mastered this step you can begin to teach step 5.
Remember always finish on success and praise the child’s efforts!
We are so proud to say that we have few children who have reached that milstone and who are now capable of undressing and dressing themselves on their own!
We would love to hear how you go with our suggestions. Good luck!
That’s all from Miss Roshin and the Clever Burranans