How do I get my kid to dress himself?

Tina - posted on 04/18/2010 ( 40 moms have responded )

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He is 5 1/2 yrs old and perfectly capable but its a struggle to get him dressed almost every morning. He will be in Kindergarten this fall and I need to start this off right so we don't struggle all yr long with this.

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JuLeah - posted on 04/19/2010

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I had a kid do this for a time. I changed the morning set up.

"Breakfast after you are dressed, cartoons after you are dressed ..." really all the things he might want happen after he was dressed.

There was no fight, cause I didn't have a time line while setting up this new system. I was happy doing my thing all morning while he didn't watch TV or play with toys .... each time he'd ask, I'd say the same words in the same tone, "After you are dressed"

Clothes were out. He knew how to dress himself, just didn't want to. The change in the set up made him want to and after a time, he forgot it was ever an issue.

Shelly - posted on 05/02/2010

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let him choose. put out two outfits and let him choose which ONE he wants to wear then next day. set those clothes out for him in the morning so they are ready and there are no questions or fights as to what he is wearing. This way he feels he has some control, even though he really doesn't ;0)

Angie - posted on 04/19/2010

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Stop dressing him. Help him pick out his clothes for the day then set a timer and tell him that's how long he has to get himself dressed. Have him help you keep track of how long it takes him to get dressed each day - make it a race. It won't be long before he's rushing to dress himself.

Kerri - posted on 04/19/2010

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we make a fast game of it . laying out the clothes the night before & make a race of it. look bet u mummie can dressed faster then u. my 6.2yr old used the excuses , but once a game started we tried timing him to beat his day before record. loved it ! good luck

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[deleted account]

My son is six and I still pretty much dress him. I only have one so I really do not have any issue with it he has lots of time to grow up :)

Tina - posted on 08/26/2013

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Well this kid is 8 now and almost 9. He still hates getting dressed/changing clothes. I only make him get dressed for going out of the house. He has a uniform for school but it is not that he doesn't like the clothes or wants to choose his own-he is just lazy! Here is what happened. One day I woke him up in plenty of time for school and after the 4th time of calling him I gave up. 5 mins before we had to walk out the door I pulled him from his bed marched him downstairs, put him and his clothes and bookbag in the car and his dad drove him to school. I heard he was dressed by the time they got to the highway(3 mins). I was a bit afraid that he would rather enjoy getting dressed in the car and just tell me that is how he wanted it so he could sleep and we would have to arrange for his underwear to fall out in the parking lot or something, but it worked. I now only wake him once, very sweetly of course. Now I just need to figure out how to get him to brush his teeth, I am a dental hygienist so it makes me crazy that he will procrastinate till there is no time. Guess i need a toothbrush in the car!

Rica - posted on 05/12/2010

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With my son now 5 1/2 as well he loves to get dressed. He has been dressing himself now 3 1/2 years. We allowed him to have a voice in what we brought for him. If he has an older brother or sister have them encourage him to get dressed on his own. Since my kids are two years apart my older one taught the small one how to do things. Now that my son is 5 1/2 we allow him to be the main voice in what he wears. If we get him something and he don't like it we take it back. So he feels like he is in control of that part of his world.

Cleofe - posted on 05/06/2010

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For me, it's really hard to teach children of that age but since children are very good observers that's why I actually didn't teach my children in wearing their clothes. I just used to join them in taking a bath and then in getting dress,in this way they follow what I'm doing,how to get dress and comb myself. My children are both boys,an 8 yr old and the other is only 4 yr. old.But both of them know how to dress themselves and fix themselves in front of the mirror. My 4 yr old son knows how to wear his socks and even his shoes,even in fixing his own things in school including how to put his snack, juice and sandwich inside his bag. My mother-in-law is really amazed when she saw how my children dress themselves. Maybe, it's better if you take time helping him and telling him how to dress up properly by himself. I'm a working mom also,that is why my children become independent at an early age with those things but eventhough I tried to attend to their needs if I have time especially weekends. And always pray,ask God's help and at night try to lay hands ur children at bed.God Bless.

Teresa - posted on 05/02/2010

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MY SON HAD THAT PROBLEM UNTIL I REMEMBERED WHAT WE DID WHEN HE WAS A BABY AND I WORKED PART TIME:

WEAR TO BED WHAT YOU ARE WEARING THE NEXT DAY...HE WAS FINE WITH WEARING SWEATPANTS OR SHORTS TO KINDERGARTEN AND FIRST GRADE. THERE WAS NO PROBLEM CHANGING AT BEDTIME BUT ASKING HIM TO CHANGE IN THE MORNING WAS TOO MUCH STRUGGLE...IT MAY BE BECAUSE HE IS USUALLY CHILLY AND TIRED IN THE MORNING...NOT GOOD TO STRIP OUT OF WARM CLOTHES WHEN FEELING THIS WAY. NOW IN SECOND GRADE HE WILLINGLY CHANGES IN THE MORNING IF HE WANTS TO WEAR JEANS, ETC...HE ACTUALLY OPENS THE FRONT DOOR TO CHECK THE WEATHER BEFORE DECIDING WHAT TO WEAR!

MY DAUGHTER IS IN KINDERGARTEN NOW AND HAS ALWAYS (SINCE 2 OR SO) DRESSED HERSELF IN THE MORNING...KIDS ARE SO DIFFERENT AND UNIQUE AREN'T THEY!

Michele - posted on 05/01/2010

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grab his clothes sit down with him and show him the front and the back of the clothes then tell him to try and put them on like a big boy does and if he has difficulty then help and next see if he can do it himself like big boys do

Kim - posted on 04/29/2010

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I have a success story to share! This morning I tried the "get dressed or you are going to school in your pajamas!" IT WORKED!!! There was no fussing, no arguing. He knew I wasn't playing!

Now, if I can just get him to put his shoes on, I've totally got this issue resolved. It's just amazing to me how these little people can RULE your life. (LOL)

Tan - posted on 04/29/2010

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Do like the cartoon "OSO", tell them we r going out. U r old enough to wear the clothes, give them 5 minutes and they can wear it. Trust me, it works for my son. He is 4+

Suzanne - posted on 04/29/2010

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i some days have to race with my son, "i bet i can get dressed before you" then most of the time he wins it gives him extra incentive to move faster

Heather - posted on 04/29/2010

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Hi there I read this somewhere.... It was such a great idea. Put shapes on the clothes tags. Matching shapes on tops and bottoms so they match and they have fun pairing up there clothes. For example circle on a shirt tag and a circle on a pants tag they see the shapes and match them. This gets them dressed and matching yay!

Kim - posted on 04/28/2010

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I was thinking the SAME exact thing Diane C.!! I have NO problem getting my daughter to get dressed and I think she was probably 2 or so when she started getting dressed herself. HOWEVER, my son is a totally different animal, beast, etc. He kicks, hollars, fusses, cries, etc. and that just sets the morning off so nice, doesn't it? I've tried just about everything except the two GREAT pieces of advice I've read on here: get dressed BEFORE breakfast and taking him to school in his pajamas. The getting dressed before breakfast probably won't work with my son because getting him to eat breakfast is a chore all in itself. So, since he is sensitive about what his friends "think", I'm going to try the "I'm taking you to school in your pajamas" trick tomorrow.

I've begged and pleaded to the point where it's absolutely ridiculous. To me, it's all about controlling the situation and seeing just how far he can push us. Tomorrow there will be no pushing!! He's going to school in his pajamas if that's what it takes!

Diane - posted on 04/28/2010

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HIMSELF!!!!!! says it all im afraid lol my 2 yr old daugter gets her self dressed brushes her hair and teeth puts her shoes and coat on the lot lol, but my son wud let me wipe his bum for him he literally wants me to do everything i think its boys for ya xx

Jenifer - posted on 04/28/2010

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You can't go outside and play if your in pajamas.This worked for my kids really well.

[deleted account]

I think the ladies here have the right idea. I implement a lot of these ideas with my son. such as a race to see who gets dressed faster. children love games. I also tell him that he must be dressed before any T.V time in the morning as well. there are books now that teach children about pretty much anything so I'm sure you could find one about this. above all else, teach him the importance of being a big boy & learning to do things himself. But mommy beware...we often find ourselves doing it for them to avoid the struggle, but he will not learn that way, Maybe a trip or 2 to the park may have to be cancelled because he chose to not dress himself. He is sure to get the lesson then =0) Good luck.

Elizabeth - posted on 04/27/2010

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Make him go out in his PJ's. I'm sure he won't like them as much if he sees that his friends are in clothes and he's not. My mom-in-law had to do that with her daughter she was always battling everything, so instead of a battle just use the natural consequence and let him go out in PJ's. He won't like it once it's cold out and when he realizes that everyone else is dressed. I've done it with my sons it does work. They don't want to be different than everyone else so they will get into clothes once they figure that out.

[deleted account]

My almost-5 year old daughter used to do this, and I also changed the morning routine...she had to get dressed first, before breakfast and before TV (sadly, morning cartoons are a pretty strong incentive with her). Plus, she gets to pick the clothes out, so we avoid finding out at the last minute that she won't wear what I have chosen for her. Her outfits are interesting, but she is doing is it herself, and we are out the door on time.

Dekeyla - posted on 04/27/2010

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Tell him if you don't get dressed you can't go to school to see your friends.

Crystal - posted on 04/27/2010

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i have 4 boys and my 1st grader desn't pick his clothes out yet...but after reading all these posts i think i'll start letting him choose.....he doesn't like getting dressed either. i would try the race game and rewards.

Nicola - posted on 04/26/2010

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my son didnt want to get dressed either but he soon got over it when i threatened to take him out shopping etc naked if he wouldnt get himself dressed of course you do have to follow through but we never got past the front door without him going ok ok i'll get dressed he was younger to only 4. So should be an even more embarassing idea for your 5 1/2 year old.

Angela - posted on 04/25/2010

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I agree with Carol. I actually took my then 4 and half year old son to pick his older sister up from school in his underwear! It was warm out- late May. I did take his clothes with us When he found out we were really getting out of the car, he got dressed rather quickly. Now all I have to say is "I will take you to school in your underwear!" He does not give me any problem.

Carol - posted on 04/25/2010

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I told my 5 yr old daughter, who I might add is perfectly capable of dressing herself, that we leave the house at 8am to get to school on time. I said I will leave at that time no matter what she is wearing, and if its her pyjamas then so be it. I warned her that her friends may laugh, but it is her choice whethert or not to dress. She sat there for a while and I ignored her, I have 2 other children and myself to get ready so I dont have time to fuss. When she saw that I was serious and wasn't going to help or give in, she soon got herself ready and does so every morning now. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind, If you need a trial run start this on a weekend where you can pop to the corner shop and it doesnt matter if they do wear their Pjs, they will b the one upset and soon learn!

Karen - posted on 04/25/2010

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One day of going to school in his PJ's and he will be up and dressed the next morning in record time. This is an oldie but a goodie. Have used it on 2 occasions myself.

Shannon - posted on 04/25/2010

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We had a problem like that with our daughter but after she started Kindergarten we tried many different things. The one that worked was putting her to bed a little earlier and she picked her clothes out before going to bed. Now she's in 1st Grade and she gets dressed without any hassle and even packs her own sack lunch. Good Luck!

[deleted account]

Hi some really good advice here . My daughter did this so one weekend when she was at my mums she wouldn't get dressed so my mum told her she had 10 mins , if she wasn't ready then they would leave the house in what she had on . 10 mins later sasa was still in her pj's . so my mum took her out the way she was dressed . No she didn't care but does like to pick out her own clothes now .
I would say follow someone elses advice theirs seems to work.

Connie - posted on 04/21/2010

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There are some great ideas here. We used the game method for our 5yr old. I would pretend not to be able to get his legs in the pants and then finally be able to catch him. We also used the timed method. Seeing how fast he could get dressed. Kids are competitive, so usually games work.

Paula - posted on 04/21/2010

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I let my 5 year old pick out his own clothes, and this helps. Mornings are a definate struggle since he is adhd, but letting them make their own choices does help them feel they are in control. If you have time issues, let them pick out the clothes the night before and set them out to be ready for morning.

Angela - posted on 04/20/2010

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I don't know if this will work for you, but it has worked for me. I used to nag the Hell out of my kids to get dressed. But, I told them one day that I was going to get dressed before them and they couldn't beat me. Almost every day, they get dressed before they come out of their rooms because they want to beat me (I let them). When they are dressed I say "WOW! I thought for sure I was going to beat you! You are just too quick and must have super powers or something." Both my 7 year old and almost 5 year old daughters do this. They LOVE beating me at getting dressed. I tell them the night before "I just KNOW I'm going to beat you tomorrow!" For whatever reason, it works. They think it's really funny. We've been doing this for 3 months now and it never seems to get old.

Lesley - posted on 04/20/2010

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Maybe let him choose 1 item himself. Sometimes I play a game called beating the clock and set the timer on my phone. Hope this helps!

Anita - posted on 04/20/2010

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hi im a mum of 5 all different stages in there life from 16 to 2 and what i have found they love rewards. not to pamper as such but a chart on the fridge with star chart and stickers and everythime they do something for themselves they get a star. if they reach say 10 they then get a prize and every one can see the chart and praise the kids they love this and want to do more.

Erin - posted on 04/20/2010

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First of all, let him choose his own clothes! It's not the end of the world if he wants to wear a striped polo shirt with athletic pants or a floral patterned button-up with green camo pants. Letting him choose is essential to his development of "self."
Next, plan ahead. You know this is going to be a struggle, so start now. Give him PLENTY of warning ahead of time with lots of reminders.
He may need you to sit with him while he gets dressed so he doesn't lose focus on the task at hand (this is a big issue with my kindergartener). Say, "Which shirt do you want to wear? Awesome, now put that on." Then say, "Which pants do you want to wear? Great! Put them on." Encourage, encourage, encourage!
Remember: the more you struggle and get frustrated, the harder it will be. (Like my kids learning to fasten their own seat belt.) It's much easier if you keep a level-head and approach it with smiles and patience.
Good luck with it!

Becki - posted on 04/20/2010

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I started leaving them in the bathroom while my 5 year-old stepdaughter takes her shower. She's not allowed to come out until she's in them.

Christa - posted on 04/20/2010

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Making a game of it or laying them out together the night before might work. We have uniform so not a problem here!!

[deleted account]

To encourage my lo to dress himself I'd give him a star on his reward chart for every item of clothes he put on correctly, without a fuss, and quickly (for school days!!) I also let him choose what he wants to wear 1st.

Fola - posted on 04/19/2010

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Just encourage him. I have a 6 yrs old girl and she just love dressing herself in the morning for school. Always remind him that he is a big boy and dressing himself is a big boy duty. Kill him with praises and he would want to do it to make your happy and see a big smile on your face.

Angel - posted on 04/18/2010

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pick out clothes he doesn't like and pretend you like them and see what happens. I sometimes do this with my now 5year old and he will say no, I want to wear that or this and I tell him he can if he put it on himself. it works

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