How do I get my kid to dress himself?

You've selected outfits and dressed your child since they were a baby, but at some point they have to learn to do it themselves. How do you motivate a child to dress himself each day?

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21  Answers

20 16

Wait until they're ready? What's with hurrying our kids to do stuff all the time?

6
48 6

My kids have kind of initiated the process of dressing themselves on their own. For my youngest (age 3), we've almost mastered the skiil, but it's been a process of his own timing. He was never forced to do it; instead, he started wanting to try on his own. Once he was able to do his shoes, he moved to his underwear. Then it was on to his shirt and pants. Sometimes things are difficult to put on and his arms get stuck. That's the only time I get to help, usually. As another mom mentioned, sometimes we do race to see which of my 3 kids can be dressed first, and that always makes him move quickly and without a battle. As for picking his own clothes (and even for my daughter, age 5), I will typically give 2 choices. This way I've actually chosen for him what I want him to wear, but he feels empowered by getting to choose between the 2 outfits/shirts/etc. and is more likely to dress w/out complaint. And, yes, we've often gone to the store in snow boots during a spring rain. Some things are worth the battle, and others are not.

3
7 1

I have a 6 year old boy and a 4 year old girl. My daughter has been able to dress herself for ages and my son who could do it and would not do it just sorted himself out when he started school and had to get undressed to go swimming and then dressed again. I decided not to fight him over this and he soon sorted himself out from necessity. I also believe that the more you make a point of it the more they refuse to do as you want. So take a big breath in those frustrating moments and let it go. Another thing to try is let them choose their outfits and see if that motivates or maybe a reward sticker chart. Sticker charts worked really well for my two and still do sometimes. Good luck and I am sure it will soon sort itself out.

2
18 15

My sons are only 13 months apart, so we have a lot of races. We see who can get dressed first. I often lose, but the satisfaction of having two little boys with their close on is prize enough for me.

2
1 16

yeah i agree with Hayley- no rush. my 3-year old started wanting to do it himself on his own, it was never something i rushed him into. when he started showing an interest i helped him do it himself and now he's almost got it all the way. he wants to learn to tie his shoes so we may work on that next. but im glad that i didnt rush him into any of those things- all in good time.

1
0 0

Be Patient.
Each child is an individual and develops at their own rate. Also ask yourself why your isn't dressing themselves? Is it that they still want your help? Do they still need your help? They may want your help because they just need a little more time with you or they may need the help because their fine or gross motor skills haven't developed to the point yet. They may not feel confident in their ability to dress themselves. I say throw out the expectations and celebrate the successes and develop a plan to work on the challenges.

1
14 43

You know my boys started to want to wear certain things. So I went out and bought especially my 3-1/2 yr old, Cars shirts. He loves Lightening McQueen. I am no longer allowed to pick out his clothes he wants to do it himself because he knows mommy won't pick the right shirt!!! My 5-1/2 yr old has been dressing himself since he was 2, he likes to match colors. Make it a game, whether its matching colors or their favorite character, then they feel BIG!!

1
0 0

let them pick out the outfit

1
3 18

Girls are easy. I have all their clothes in certain drawers. Then I ask them to pick outfits that I check. I've been doing this since they were each about 3. Today I suggested they wear their soccer or prior softball shirts to practice. They got dressed with shirts and shorts by themselves. I also stress that with being a girl we always cover up and look our best with hair and clothes.

0
12 8

make a game out of it. if your not dressed yet either see if he can get dressed before you

0
10 5

I was told dressing up teddy or their fav toy (dressing up monkey/dolls) would have them learn dressing up themselves, i am there to help at times and at times encouraging does it all, Patience is the key as all kids learn at their own pace :)

0
10 5

choosing shoes with snaps that are easy to wear and the same for pyjamas easy to pull up, without buttons make easy for kids dressing up teddy or their fav toy (dressing up monkey/dolls) would have them learn dressing up themselves, i am there to help at times and at times encouraging does it all, Patience is the key as all kids learn at their own pace :)

17 9

At first I just let him pick his own outfits and then everything fell into place on his time not mine. I have done this for everything withy son.

0
38 22

Make it a game. Pretend you don't know where the clothes go. Take his sock and look at it and say where does this go? does it go here? (put it somewhere it doesn't go) Then ask him to show you where it supposed to go and how he is supposed to wear it.
Let him choose his outfit. Within reason, of course. He may look like a goof with cowboy boots, shorts and his swim vest, but he will be so proud.
Make it a race. Either make two (or more, if you have more people available) piles of clothes and see who can get dressed faster. or use a stopwatch and time him.
Sing a song. There are some on the internet or make one up all about getting dressed. Have him act out the words. He'll love it off key and out of tune though it may end up.

0
55 21

My daughter was VERY independent right from the start so by the time she was two she was dressing herself and fastening zips before she was three! My son (2) is a different character altogether but I'm letting him do it in his own time with lots of praise and encouragement every time he helps or does something for himself. He now gets his own coat and if you hold it for him will put it on himself. He can also put on his own socks.

He'll get the rest of it soon enough and I reckon he'll be doing everything for himself by the time he starts school which is the main objective!

0
34 9

It could be easy for me to dress myself in the hurry morning while my 4 years daughter do the same. And i'm sure one day she will put sugar in my cofee too :))) But for the moment she appreciate my help for a lot of things and i do help her cause it wont last!
Some years ago she asked my hand to help her walk and sometimes i was tired but i always try to remember "it wont last" and i try to have good time with her until she grow up: cause actually, she rarely want my hand - even in the stairs. Hopefully i can remember most of this moments and fell happy :)
I mean it's mot an easy thing to be happy of every moment the life offered to you. But my opinion is your child doesn't really _needs_ you - or just for a moment. Nowadays they appreciate a lot of things from you (your food, your presence, your cuddle?). But in some years we will just give them some grandparents advice at phone.
Did you ear that every morning the sun raise just at time, never too soon, never to late? So do the child: time to speak, time to walk, and time to go away...

0
13 17

My almost four year old has been dressing himself most days since he was almost three. I lay his clothes on his bed. Pants facing up and shirts facing down. He is suppose to dress himself while I dress his brother. Sometimes I have to threaten and others he does without me having to remind him. I help with the socks ( he kinda do this) and shoes ( can do this by himself but I think he likes mom attention on this). I am now working on snapping and buttons and zipping his pants since he will start preschool soon and will have to use the potty without help.

0
0 12

With my daughter and now my son i have always included them in chooseing what they want to wear and always used a lot of praise and once i new they could do it themselves i used phraises like your a big girl now you can do it but i am here if you need help them knowing you right there if they need help is great for them in anything that they need to learn for themselves

0
46 15

My boy is VERY competitive, and I used that to get him to dress himself. When he struggles with a spesific piece, then I will drop my sock, or put the shirt on in reverse, so that I have to redo it and that way give him time to catch up. That way he got dressed, and we had a BALL of a time. Do not work so well when one is in a hurry though.

0
0 6

I had her at 2 start putting her socks on then every few weeks advanced to another piece of clothing showing her what matches and coordinates. by the time she was 3 i showed her easy ways of putting the clothing on and was consistent on the procedure. now she dresses herself.

0
363 40

We look in his closet and encourage him to pick out what he wants to wear - it doesn't always match - but if it is what he wants versus what I want, I know he'll be more comfortable in clothes he chose himself - and we avoid a tantrum about such a trivial thing as what to wear. The only thing he really needs help with anymore is socks (and shoes w/laces) Several times he's worn a striped T with plaid shorts, or a lime green shirt and blue shorts!

0
14 2

I started with very small steps. First it was getting my then two year old to take off his jammies. Then we worked on putting on pull up/underwear by talking him through it. Then we added pants. Now that he is three, we are still stuck here. He is very capable of doing it but not very motivated. I try to reward him for being a "good helper" by reading an extra book but that doesn't work often. I have to say it is a huge fight all day long, every time he goes to the potty.

0

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