Dressing oneself is an important psychological and emotional milestone. It can be particularly challenging for a little kid because it involves so many different skills. Children need opportunities to feel independent and parents need every break they can get! By letting your child dress himself/herself, you’ll instill confidence and self-esteem, and create a platform of learning for more complex tasks. Use these six tips to help your child self-dress.
1. Praise the little victories.
As we know, children respond better to positive encouragement than admonishment and punishment. If your child managed to fit into a shirt, explain how proud you are, even if the shirt is on backwards. Kindly suggest it be turned around, but if your child protests, leave it be. Allow the emotional victory and work on the mechanics next time.
2. Give some space.
Your son or daughter will never learn how to work a zipper, button, or belt if you operate it for him. Ask yourself if you’re pitching in too much. Stand back, observe his/her efforts, offer advice and encouragement, but let your child do the work.
3. Pick up a small stool.
Kids often have a hard time balancing themselves well enough to step into pants or shorts while sanding, and beds and chairs are usually too high for them to sit down. Pick up a small wooden stool for your child to use while getting dressed. You’ll probably find other handy purposes for it, too.
4. Opt for loose clothes.
If it’s only important that you child is covered, choose looser clothing whenever possible. Some children can become frustrated trying to squeeze their heads through fitted shirts or turtlenecks and give up quickly. Pick out tops with plenty of room in the head and arms, and pants with elastic waists so they master the easy parts of dressing right away.
5. Break down the process into steps.
If you ask your child to “please get dressed,” you might receive a blank stare. Complex tasks with multiple steps can be confusing to little minds. Try breaking up your request into smaller, more manageable steps. Ask your child to put on his underwear, then his t-shirt, then his socks, etc.
If your child is really young, you can break the steps down even further. For example, hold his shorts out in front, let him step in, and then ask him to pull them up himself. Next time, give him one more step in the chain.
6. Practice when you are not in a rush.
It’s excellent that you want to give your child new experiences and let him/her learn by doing, but maybe “leave-right-now-or-you’re-late-for-work” isn’t the right time. Let your child practice when there’s plenty of time to spare. If you don’t have any plans on a particular day, find reasons to undress so you can have him/her get dressed again.
Written by Holly MacLean from Wee Urban
As a new mom, Holly was driven to start Wee Urban™ to offer the modern family a unique and fresh collection of eco-friendly baby gear and accessories that goes beyond the conventional and explores the exceptional! Tired of traditional pinks and blues and cute motifs, we offer sophisticated designs, “conscious” organic alternatives, practical functionality and superior quality. Using our custom certified organic cotton blends, low-impact dyes, and other trendsetting fabrics, we hope to inspire families to be make better choices and of course- do it all in urban style!
Beyond our organic cotton and azo-free dyes, Wee Urban uses 100% post-consumer packaging and tags for our Wee Dreams™ Sleep Bags. Our distinctive screen-printing is done with 100% eco-inks and are all phthalate free.
We also recycle our remnants and donate as much as possible to local elementary schools to help with arts and crafts programs.
For more information, visit wwww.weeurban.com
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