Getting dressed is a skill that all children need to learn. Teaching kids to dress themselves helps them develop important skills such as problem-solving and self-care, which are essential for independent living. It can also give children a sense of accomplishment and help them to feel more in control of their own lives. With that in mind, here are 5 reasons why your child needs to learn how to get dressed.
In this blog post, we will discuss five reasons why your child needs to learn how to get dressed. We’ll talk about why it’s important, how to break down the steps, and how to teach the steps backwards. We will also provide some tips to help your child learn how to dress themselves.
Children start learning independence from the moment you hand them the spoon. One of the earliest ways we can teach our kids independence is when they start eating. We can look for opportunities for independence in everyday living, such as giving our kids choices that give them a sense of control and security. When it comes to dressing themselves lay out different options based on weather-appropriate/school-appropriate situations.
Reward that independence by letting them know they made a great choice! Encourage them by saying things like, "Wow, you are becoming such a big boy and you can do this all on your own! I'm so proud of you!"
Do you know that feeling when you spot your child playing independently? This too has a gratifying feeling. Our son loves dressing himself, and he is always so proud of his outfits and accomplishment in dressing himself. He even makes a point to say, "Mommy aren't you so proud that I dressed myself?"
By allowing your child to dress themselves from a young age, you are also helping them develop a sense of pride in their appearance and encouraging self-confidence. Knowing that they are capable of dressing themselves is an important milestone for children and will help them feel more secure about themselves and their abilities.
2) Fine Motor Skills
Dressing helps with fine motor skills. Fastening buttons or clips, zipping up zippers. tying shoe laces. When they practice these tasks every day, they can become more comfortable and confident in their ability to do them. This will make it easier for them when they need to use these skills for school activities, sports or just everyday life!
3) Gross Motor Skills
These come into play when they stand on one leg to get a pair of pants on (one leg at a time) Placing their head through the hole of their shirt and placing each arm in their sleeves. This also ties into the next level of learning self-confidence and building up their self-esteem. It takes practice, patience, and guidance to teach your child how to get dressed, but it will help them to feel more independent, capable, and empowered. One way you can do this is by breaking down the steps of getting dressed so that your child can focus on one task at a time instead of trying to learn it all at once. Start by teaching them how to put their socks or shoes on first, then progress to putting on shirts and pants. Encourage them to take turns putting on different items and talk them through each step. You may even need to demonstrate how it’s done a few times before your child understands. You can also practice “dressing up” for fun activities like role-play, or taking pictures for special occasions, which will make it more enjoyable for them while still teaching them how to dress themselves. Finally, if you find your child is having difficulty remembering which pieces go with which outfit, try teaching them how to dress backwards.
4) Cognitive Development
Their cognitive comes into play by remembering which clothes go on first and concentrating on getting the task done.
Getting dressed for children can have a lot of steps. It helps as a parent to break it down into small steps for them like putting on underwear, shorts/pants, t-shirt and then socks and shoes.
Depending on your child’s skill and age you can also break down each of the steps of getting dressed for them like this...
Putting on underwear:
Place the underwear the right way for them.
Hold the front of the waistband.
Put one leg at a time through each leg hole while also holding the underwear.
Then pull the underwear up.
Talking your child through each step helps them know what to do. In their early stages, simple small words or phrases are ok, such as ‘underwear on’. This helps develop their language skills.
Teaching your child how to get dressed is an essential life skill they need to learn. Modeling is an important part of teaching your child how to get dressed. Showing them how to put on different articles of clothing is very beneficial. Demonstrating how to button, zip and tie items of clothing will make learning these tasks easier.
Praising your child when they complete tasks correctly will help reinforce the positive behavior needed when learning how to get dressed. Letting your child choose some of their own clothing items will make them feel more confident about dressing themselves and make the experience more enjoyable. Making sure they wear comfortable clothing that isn’t too difficult to manage is another key factor to success.
Practice makes perfect, so be patient and allow your child plenty of opportunities to try again if needed. Providing visual aids such as pictures or a video can help show exactly what needs to be done. Another helpful tip is to ask your child questions throughout the process such as "Which shoe goes on first?" Doing so will help encourage your child to think and problem solve independently. Ultimately, with plenty of patience and guidance from you, your child will eventually master the art of getting dressed!
Giving your child the tools they need to succeed with build their self confidence and self-esteem, knowing that they can accomplish something on their own is so rewarding for them.
We start the process by teaching the steps backwards
A good way to teach your child how to get dressed is to break down each task into small steps and teach them the last step first. Once your child can do the last step of the task, teach them the second-last step, then the third-last step and so on.
For example, when putting on shorts same as the underwear example, you might help your child face the shorts the right way, hold the waistband and put their legs through the leg holes. Then teach your child the last step – pulling up the shorts to their waist by themselves.
Once your child can do this, teach them to put their legs through the leg holes and pull their shorts up. You can keep working your way backward through the steps until your child has mastered them all and can put their shorts on by themselves.
A big advantage of this approach is that often the most rewarding thing about a task is getting it finished – and your child gets to this reward sooner when they can do the last step first.
If your child is having trouble, it can be tempting to jump in to help. But give your child a chance to work it out for themselves, and cheer your child on as they try. Doing it on their own is great for your child’s confidence. Step in only when your child really needs your help.
Tips for helping your child learn to get dressed to build their self-esteem
If you can be positive and supportive, your child is more likely to cooperate. So a lot of praise will go a long way, even if your child has put their pants on backward! Here are some practical tips to help.
Allow a realistic amount of time for getting dressed.
If you’re often rushed in the morning, try choosing clothes with your child the night before.
When you’re in a hurry, let your child do the easy tasks and help them with the difficult tasks.
Practice getting dressed when you and your child aren’t in a hurry or tired.
Choosing appropriate clothes
Let your younger child choose from a couple of options, like 2 t-shirts. Older or more mature children might be able to choose their own clothing.
Talk about the weather when you and your child are choosing clothes. Ask your child whether it’s hot or cold, raining or sunny.
Teach your child the difference between dirty and clean clothes – for example, ‘Dirty clothes go in the laundry basket. You can wear them again when they’re back in the drawer’. You can use some simple guidelines like wearing clean underwear and socks each day.
Making it easier
Have your child sit down for dressing tasks. Sitting on the floor might be easier than sitting on a chair or bed for some children.
Store clothing in drawers and cupboards that your child can get to easily. Label clothing drawers with a picture or word to describe the clothing that’s in the drawer.
Wear clothes that have a clear front and back clues – for example, a picture on the front and a tag on the back.
Teach undressing first – it’s easier than dressing. Being able to undress by themselves can boost your child’s confidence.
Teaching them the correct way to take off items of clothing and fold them neatly can also encourage independence. Teaching them basic skills can also be beneficial. It's also important to talk your child through the steps, making sure they understand why we need to put on certain items of clothing - such as a coat when it's cold outside. Be patient with your child, offering lots of encouragement throughout the learning process - it's normal for children to make mistakes while they're learning something new. With patience, practice and lots of support, your child will eventually master the art of getting dressed independently!