Paulette - posted on 09/27/2010 ( 8 moms have responded )




Does anybody have any good ideas about how I can get my daughter to put on clothes without having a meltdown everytime??

She has just turned 2 and I am guessing it is a sensory issue but the problem I am having it seems to be with all clothes regardless of the fabric, colour, style, fit, shape, with or without seams, with or without tags she just hates clothes full stop.

I first noticed this when she was still a baby but I had hoped over time she would get used to clothes but instead as she has gotten older she has in fact gotten worse and now she has started saying a few words she now screams "NO CLOTHES" and "HELP ME".

It is awful having to upset her so much every morning and night and she is so miserable after putting them on for such a long time. After a few hours she does seem to get used to them and she seems to forget about them being on but at the very next clothes change same scenario again.


View replies by

Trudie - posted on 10/03/2010




my son is exactly the same. he would be naked 24/7 - recently my mother in law come up to help out, while i had surgury and she told him no panse no playing, no tv and believe it or not it has worked. he wears clothes now - now i have the issue of he will only wear one out fit (underware, boxer shorts and singlet) and refuses to wear anything else and yet the tantrams go on for ever and don't stop..i give in to bring the peace. i hope he grows out of this. he just keeps saying "it smells" or "i can't do that no" and he would wear his togs if those clothes were in the wash.
at least he is wearing something now i surpose

[deleted account]

Remember that it might be a visual issue as well as a textural one.

I have learned the hard way what my sensitive ones will and won't wear. It's meant a lot of money wasted on clothes I end up giving away, but now we're into a groove so it's better. I have one girl who refused to wear anything pink until she was about 5 (loved the show Blues Clues and only wanted blue clothes!), and one girl who won't wear anything patterned, except for the occasional polka dots. My little man went through a phase where he wouldn't wear anything red and now we've finally gotten him to wear sweaters and hoodies, but no coats, nor dress pants. Jeans and tee shirts or polos, for the most part, preferably plain white. And he has been wearing the exact same style of shoes since he was 10 months old (he's now 4 1/2). Point being, I totally feel you! (((hugs)))

Valeta - posted on 10/03/2010




my daughter hates most clothes! all tags have to be cut of,any loose treads gone, no buttons or zips. she wears socks inside out but that is still a struggle for her, she hates shoes andmost of the time is barefoot. in the summer she was fine with birkenstocks but now the trouble begins! she wears mostly leggings, plain t shirts and fleeces with hoods as she likes to keep hoods up because she says she cant hear the people so much when we are out. i never buy new clothes without her now, today we brought some velour pyjamas that looked abit like tracksuits so she can wear them out. everything she wears has to be pull up, it is hard and sometimes so frustrating but i just tell myself that she cant help it and it must be horrible to be so sensive to clothes.

Helen - posted on 10/01/2010




my daughter done the exact same for a long time. she only now keeps most of her clothing on. it did get a bit easier when i started to take her to playgroup as i think she started to realise everybody must keep their clothes on especially in public. at home i took it one piece of clothing at a time. start with basics like underwear and give lots of praise or a treat if she can keep an item on for a length of time. it will take a lot of effort for both of you. most important is dont get stressed out, if in the privacy of your own home let her wear as much or as little as she comfortable with.

User - posted on 09/29/2010




HI Paulette,

My son went through this, and it was awful. At six, he still experiences it to a degree, but at least he can usually tell me what's going on.

We ended up, for a while, basically dressing in the same clothes that he found the least objectionable...then his OT suggestion letting him "play" with the, out came the clothes in a basket...he sat on them, threw them about, we played, trying to desensitize him to them just being around him.

We still had to ensure that there were no tags, loose fitting, etc...but it seemed to help. He still has issues when we move from summer clothes to fall...suddenly long sleeves and pants begin to make him feel yucky...but he "gets" that he needs to wear warm easier.

Good luck,


Rachael - posted on 09/28/2010




Help Me!!! Don't you hate that!!! My boy did this for a while and it was nothing to do with sensory.... He went through a stage when he really didn't want to go to School and when I took out his uniform it was on for young and old... he just didn't want to go to where those clothes indicated he was going.... Then I dressed him in casual clothes after talking to the School to experiment one day and he did the same thing because my clever boy Knew I was trying to trick him.... So when I left him in his PJ's he was happy and as soon as i got his gear out off he went!!! This was an anxiety and it came out in this form.... I looked up online and found this fellow whose Daughter and Sister had Autism and was recommending Rescue Remedy (Compound Pharmacy made - the real stuff) as an answer for this sort of thing. It was natural and would help with that awful anxiety and the outcome of the meltdowns getting dressed. I give him 10 drops via a dropper 10 minutes before I dress him every day and I haven't had a meltdown getting dressed since and now use it for any meltdowm moment with great results. Even my School has a bottle on hand!!! Your little girl now has a pattern formed in regard to getting dressed and you need to break through this. The fact that she comes right after a while and this has increased in intensity over time tells me it clearly now falls into an anxiety area and that this may help you through it! She is relating getting dressed to something she doesn't want to do including transitioning to something else other than what she is doing at the time and she finds this hard.
Worth a go...! Good luck and let us know how you go.

Summer - posted on 09/28/2010




Hi Paulette,
My son has the smae problems. He can't stand tags on shirts, PJ's that are too tight, socks with seams and all shirts with patterns are on the front and that annoying itching on the inside shirt.
All i can say is trial and error. Everything seems to change daily with him. I now just try to realize what upsets him and avoid. I dont know if this helps, but maybe a distraction while changing him. A toy he only gets while changing his clothes, or a song that takes his mind off of what he's doing...or maybe a sticker chart to get him looking forward to changing clothes and a distraction for when he's finished dressing. Good luck.

LINDY - posted on 09/28/2010




Hi Paulette my son had the same problem when that age i could only put on dress pants on him even at nighttime and only cotton shirts and sometimes he would dry retch with so smells of new shirt .
I got a tip to buy second hand clothes and only now will he wear pjs and tracksuit pants as the years have gone on his sensory to clothes has got better but he still has problems to some smells.
Maybe try a socail story and take photos of what you want her to wear and just try different fabrics good luck hope it gets better for you and her soon

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms