The time has come for your child to put on their own clothes. Don’t underestimate the issue; it’s very important and requires certain skills. What’s most important, though, is that you remain positive, encourage them, and help them carry on even if they sometimes fail.
What They Do to Get Dressed
Getting dressed is a simple matter, you think. However, it’s less simple for your child, as they possess limited skills in this area.
From One to Two Years Old
They hold out their arms to help you dress them.
They move some of their clothes from one place to another.
They try to open or close their zipper, but they don’t know how to use buttons.
From Two to Three Years Old
They become able to take off their shoes, socks, and pajama pants.
They can undo their buttons.
They begin to put on loose clothing by themselves.
From Three to Four Years Old
They become able to dress themselves, but they need help tying their shoes and putting on tight sweaters.
They can unzip things with ease.
They can distinguish between the front and back of their clothes.
They put on their shoes but may put them on the wrong feet.
How Can You Help Them?
Make changing clothes a shared activity between you. Tell them, for example, “Now we’re going to take off our pants”; call the steps and the clothes by their names.
Teach them the stages of getting dressed. Begin by taking off pajamas: “Now you’re going to take off the pajama pants.” Then give them the chance to pick out their clothes. This boosts their independence.
Try not to do this while in a hurry. Try to make it into a game.
Skills They Need
If you want your child to learn to get dressed on their own, make sure that they have these skills:
They know their body well and which part goes with which article of clothing.
They distinguish between which articles of clothing go on the inside and which on the outside, and between right and left.
They know how to coordinate their movements to put their hands, head, and feet into the proper openings in their clothes.
They’re able to keep their balance when, for example, they put their pants on.
Their choice of clothes fits the temperature.
They know how to use buttons and zippers.
They have self-confidence and independence in doing all of this.