A child’s ability to dress themselves is an essential developmental milestone. Your child has reached a major developmental threshold at this point. This marks their transition to being more independent and mature.
Babies may not be able to get themselves ready for the day by walking, talking, or feeding themselves, but they can do it by dressing themselves.
Even though a toddler might need help buttoning their shirt or putting on their shoe at first, encouraging them to dress can help them gain confidence and prepare them for harder responsibilities in the future.
Your child’s development in areas like spatial awareness, problem-solving, and fine and gross motor control will greatly benefit from having more responsibility for completing practical life skills like getting dressed. Moreover, it has the potential to significantly increase their confidence.
Tips for helping your toddler dress alone
Do not be in a hurry
If you start pushing them, they are more likely to become flustered and angry. It can be complicated to instruct your child in this manner, but once they know it, it will make your life much simpler.
Make it simple
One more helpful suggestion is to simplify things for your toddler. Simply take one thing, such as a jumper, and divide it into steps. Explain the front of the jumper and the opening for the head in simple, straightforward terms.
Tell them to lower the jumper and then shove their arms through. Though it might take more time to explain the method step by step, your child is more likely to remember it for the next time they need to put on their jumper.
Consider types of clothing
Your child will need several kinds of clothing to learn how to zip up or button up right away. Consider items of clothing without complex fasteners. This is because they may need help handling laces or buttons.
Try to choose clothing articles with Velcro or big buttons, an elasticized waistband, or images to help you tell the back from the front. You can boost your child’s confidence by beginning with simple tasks before moving on to more complex ones.
Try to keep your cool
Parents have many things to do daily, and getting their kids dressed takes only a few minutes, yet getting themselves ready might take hours. If you want to teach your kid to get dressed without help, you’ll need to schedule extra time into your day.
Is there a right time for toddler to start dressing independently?
The desire to learn dressing self does not peak at any certain age. Some toddlers like getting dressed independently and changing clothes several times a day. Some don’t appear to bother.
Putting on clothing and shoes is a skill that often develops after a toddler has mastered pulling them off. Typically, the first to go are items like trousers, shoes, hats, and socks that are simple to take off. Children learn to dress themselves and make decisions about factors like the appropriate clothing for the weather as they mature.
When dressing a toddler, it’s not just about the final look but also the process. To put on clothes, you need a range of motor skills, from fine motor control to the ability to plan and carry out complex movements.
When dressing, toddlers learn to identify and name different articles of clothing. They also learn about their colors, where and when to wear them. All these contribute to the development of their expression and vocabulary.
The benefits of a self-dressing toddler
Having a toddler who can dress gives them a sense of independence. You know what it’s like to have someone constantly pulling at your shirt and asking for help if you’ve ever had to dress a toddler.
Self-dressing toddlers have independence to wear whatever they want, whenever they want, without assistance from others. When it’s time for school or other activities, the kid will feel more confident and independent if they can choose and put on their own outfit without asking an adult for help.
Children’s self-esteem and general confidence can greatly benefit from the positive reinforcement they receive when they master a new skill.
Having the confidence that comes from successfully buttoning a shirt or putting on a jacket on their own will make them much more prepared for the challenges of adulthood than they would have been had they never attempted it.
Some helpful guidelines
It would help if you always kept in mind that you are, first and foremost, the parent. In order to make this process as painless as possible, you should set some ground rules right away. Here are a few suggestions.
- Instruct your kid on the art of dressing for any event. Despite their young age, this is achievable by providing them with a selection of two or three “mom-approved” items of clothing.
- Dress for the weather. Invest in new seasonal clothing for your kids so they can only wear what is appropriate.
- Avoid arguments in the morning by establishing ground rules for which items of clothing are everyday wear. It is best to store regular clothes in an easily accessible drawer with labels that explain what each piece of clothing is for. In addition, you can hang special items in a separate closet.
Your child can practice dressing independently on dressing frames. You can give them plenty of opportunities to do so (preferably without time limits). A child can use these tools to practice fastening ties, buttons, Velcro, and zips.
Teaching a child to dress themselves can be long and annoying. The skills your child so urgently wants to perform “all by themselves” may be mastered with the correct clothing, environmental, and attitude adaptations, and lots of time to practice.