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Why It’s Important for Your Child to Learn How to Get Dressed

Why It’s Important for Your Child to Learn How to Get Dressed

When your child learns to dress himself or herself, it gives them a sense of pride and independence. And once your child can dress himself or herself, you’ll no longer have to help them.

Putting on clothes, such as the toddler boy clothes you can buy on The Trendy Toddlers, also helps your child learn many other skills. These things are:

  • Fine motor skills, like putting buttons and zips on clothes.
  • Gross motor skills include things like standing on one leg to put on pants.
  • Cognitive skills, like remembering which clothes to put on first and focusing on the task at hand.
  • Language skills, like being able to name different kinds of clothes, their colors, and sizes.
  • Awareness of time and space, such as by dressing for different events and weather.

Getting Started by Putting on Clothes

Often, very young children learn about clothes by taking off things like socks, shoes, or hats that are easy to take off. They sometimes try to put them back on. You can build on this by naming the clothes your child takes off and the parts of their body they put back on.

You can start to include your older baby or toddler in getting dressed by letting them pick out their own clothes and naming them as you put them on.

When you and your child are ready to work on this skill, it can be helpful to have some easy clothes on hand. Some of these might be:

  • Loose pants with Velcro or big buttons and buttonholes on the waist.
  • Jumpers, t-shirts, and underwear with pictures on the front can help your child figure out which way is front and which way is back.
  • Your child should also wear clothes that are easy for them to move in.

How to Get Dressed: A Step-By-Step Guide

There can be a lot of steps to getting dressed. It helps to break it up into smaller steps, like putting on underwear, then a T-shirt, shorts, socks, and shoes.

Depending on your child’s age and ability, you can also break down each step of getting dressed. For example, the steps for putting on shorts could be broken down like this:

  • How to put on shorts.
  • Hold on to the waistband in front.
  • While holding the shorts, put one leg at a time through the leg holes.
  • Bring up the shorts.

Your child will know what to do if you talk them through each step. In the beginning, it’s fine to use simple words or phrases, like “shirt on.” As your child’s language grows, you can say more, like “Push your arm through the sleeve.”

You can see if your child understands the steps when they are almost old enough to dress themselves (usually at least 3 years old). Ask, “What do you need to put on first?” You can help your child get started if they can’t remember by reminding them.

Why It’s Important for Your Child to Learn How to Get Dressed 2

Putting on Clothes: Show the Steps Backward

The best way to teach your child how to get dressed is to break each task down into small steps and teach them the last step first. Once your child knows how to do the last step, teach them the second-to-last step, then the third-to-last step, and so on.

For example, when putting on shorts, you might help your child turn the shorts the right way, hold the waistband, and put their legs through the leg holes. Then show your child how to do the last step, which is to pull their own shorts up to their waist.

Once your kid can do this, show them how to put their legs through the leg holes and pull their shorts up. You can keep going back through the steps until your child has mastered them all and can put their shorts on by themselves.

One big benefit of this method is that finishing a task is often the most rewarding part, and your child will get to this reward faster if they can do the last step first.

Making It Easier

Tell your child to sit down while putting on clothes. Some kids might find it easier to sit on the floor than on a chair or bed.

Put your child’s clothes in drawers and cabinets that are easy for him or her to reach. Put a picture or word on the label of a drawer of clothes to show what’s in it.

Wear clothes with clear clues on both the front and the back, like a picture on the front and a tag on the back.

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