Getting dressed is one of the most basic and essential life skills kids need to learn. Given a little support and the opportunity, some kids will master this skill on their own with little adult help. Others may benefit from more specific practice and encouragement. Below are some terrific tips to help kids learn to get dressed, ideas for setting up environments that encourage kids to practice dressing on their own, and specific activities for kids to practice in order to dress independently.
In my experience the most important (and often challenging) way to help kids learn to get dressed is to let them do it. As toddlers when they want to put on their own pants, give them time to do so. Yes, I know. It can take forever in the beginning, and morning schedules are tight. But encouraging them to try and letting them practice until they do is so important, especially when they first show interest.
I remember fondly when Tinker first learned to put on her pants. She sat and tried and tried until she was successful. I asked many times if she needed help, but she was sure she wanted to do it herself so I let her. The first time she did it she was SO proud, and I was, too. In fact that same week she sat over and over again putting layer after layer of pants on. Then she’d insist on wearing them ALL. My little marshmallow girl!
If you can’t give them the full time to try to dress or they are not quite ready to do the skill completely on their own in the beginning, then it may help to divide the tasks. Now that Lovey is learning to tie her shoes, we’ve started by letting her cross and tighten the laces. Then I do the loops, and she tightens the final bow.
Tips for Helping Kids Become Independent with Clothing Fasteners (The Inspired Treehouse)
Helpful Strategies for Teaching Preschoolers to Get Dressed and a Great Tip for Helping Kids Get Shoes on the Right Feet (How Wee Learn)
Super Easy DIY Dressing Boards (Stir the Wonder)
Montessori Inspired Activities for Care of Self (Living Montessori Now)
These posts and other highlights have been pinned to the Discover and Explore Pinterest Board.
More Life Skills Ideas from the Discover and Explore Co-hosts
Holiday Volunteer Activities for Families (KC Edventures)
Encouraging Toddler Independence at Snack Time (Buggy and Buddy)
Encouraging Independence and Creativity with a Creation Station (Fantastic Fun and Learning)
Promoting Life Skills in the Preschool Classroom (Teach Preschool)
Playing with Language (Twodaloo)