How to encourage kids to dress themselves

DSC_1170Our mornings have become much easier since Georgie started dressing himself. At 4 years old, it’s obvious he’s ready. Also, ‘No mama! I can do it! Don’t help me!’ was a clear indication.

If your child is at the stage of seeking his or her independence then you’ll probably know that in the beginning  the whole process can actually take longer! It’s a trying time, waiting patiently as they study their pants, shoving their legs in the wrong hole and then putting their trousers over their head. You feel like yanking the clothes away and doing it yourself but you don’t need me to tell you that is wrong.

Instead, make some time -not in the morning- to show your child how to dress properly. Lay everything on the floor, unfold socks and spread out t-shirts. Explain what they need to do first and last, encourage them and show them trust. Then tell them you will lay their clothes out every night – they can chose what they want to wear, if possible- and expect them to be fully-dressed before breakfast. Georgie went one step further a couple of weeks ago when he knocked on our bedroom door one morning and presented himself dressed, combed (!) and with his school bag on his back. ‘Ready mummy!’

TIP: At school, Georgie was taught how to put his coat on. This is so easy and fun for young ones. Place the open coat on the floor, face up, with the hoodie or neck being nearest to his body. Have him kneel down, place his arms through the sleeves, then stand up and raise his arms to the ceiling. The coat will flip and land on his back. You can imagine the looks we get when he does this in the middle of a restaurant.

TIP: It is easier for kids to figure out which is the front and back of a t-shirt if there’s some sort of design on the front. While I love stripes, they can be confusing to Georgie. I also tell him to look at the position of labels if they exist.

TIP: I find that socks with coloured heels are massively helpful.

Above all, be patient and praise your child even if that is for putting on one sock.



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