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Getting Dressed Alone: Steps Toward Independence

Getting Dressed Alone: Steps Toward Independence

happy  Mother and baby girl with clothes ready for traveling onAs children get older, getting dressed alone becomes an important task to learn. Once they reach a certain age they will be begging to do everything on their own!! Make learning to get dressed fun between both the child and the parent while also encouraging independence.


There are several ways to teach children how to get dressed on their own without creating a daily stress routine.


Make It Fun


Do not make getting dressed all business and no pleasure. Make up games and songs to help the child learn how to put on a shirt or pull their legs through a pair of pants. If done every day, it will be a morning and nighttime routine that the kids look forward to and enjoy participating in.


Praise for a Job Well Done


Every time the child successfully puts on an article of clothing, praise their accomplishment. Children yearn for their parent’s approval and will respond positively with anything in which they receive it. If they go a whole week dressing themselves with no fits or whining, reward that with a special treat.


Start Small


Do not start with tricky snaps and buckles. Use simple clothing items and accessories. Stretchy pants, t-shirts and skirts are great options to start with. Choose accessories that are easy to maneuver, such as a hook and loop belt. Easy clothing and accessories will start the process of independent thinking, the harder clothing items can be conquered later.


One Step at a Time


Do not just throw an entire outfit at a child and expect them to get it all down right away. Go one piece of clothing at a time and help them understand how each piece works. To an adult, clothing is simple, but to a child it can be a labyrinth of complication.


Be Patient

If a child takes twice as long to get dressed in the morning do not get aggravated, every child needs to learn at their own pace. Rushing their learning process can result in the child feeling pressure and they will not want to continue. If a child has their head through an arm hole, patiently maneuver the shirt and help them try again. Tiny steps create the best results.


Little girl playing with her baby dollGive Them Choices


A child will get ten times more excited to put on an outfit they chose themselves. Every morning, spread out different outfits and let them choose which one they like best. Another option is to make it a game. Hide three outfits in closed boxes with a clue to each one and let them choose which mystery outfit they want to wear.




Getting dressed may not seem like a big deal, but to a young child it tends to be. After a child gets dressed, blow it way out of proportion. Brag to their dad about how good they look, show them off at the supermarket and praise their outfit choice in front of the neighbors. Mom and Dad making a fool of themselves is a small price to pay for building a child’s confidence and creating a beaming smile.

A child getting dressed on their own opens gateway to confident independent thinking. Make it fun and enjoy their process while watching them grow.

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