How to Teach Your Children to Dress Themselves

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One of the best things about a child growing up is that he or she becomes more independent. Getting to that point takes a lot of work on the part of the parents, though. If you’re looking forward to your child getting dressed on their own, you should follow the tips below.

Be Developmentally Appropriate

The first step towards helping your toddler get dressed has more to do with the parent than the child. You need to make sure that you’re choosing developmentally appropriate tasks for your child at this time—you can push all you want, but you aren’t going to get a toddler to perform tasks that he or she can’t do. That means you can work on big buttons and zippers, but that smaller fasteners or tying shoes might still be a year or two away.

Buy the Right Clothing

When you’re ready to start letting your child take over some of the basic dressing tasks, you can visit online baby gear stores for a bit of help. Your goal is to find items that are going to be easy for your child to take on and off so that he or she feels a sense of accomplishment. Don’t make things too hard at first—if you can get your child excited about dressing, he or she will buy into the process with less of a fuss.

Make it Fun

As with so many other childhood tasks, getting dressed can work if it’s more of a game. Let your child pick out a ‘costume’ of clothes at home, and then let him or her know that he or she has to put it on alone. It doesn’t matter if the clothes match or even if they make sense together—your child will work harder to learn the basic if he or she thinks that it’s a matter of play rather than work.

Go in Stages

Finally, start going in stages. Don’t expect a toddler to pick out a matching outfit and get dressed in the morning—instead, pick an item or two for which he or she might be responsible. Your child might start by being responsible for just pulling on pants or a shirt at first, and then graduate up to zipping up zippers or dealing with velcro shoes. Take things as they come to improve your child’s confidence.

You don’t have to rush into the dressing process. Make sure you know what’s appropriate, find the right gear, and help your child have fun easing into things. If you pace things right, your child will be getting dressed on his or her own in no time.


Anica Oaks is a freelance writer who hails from San Francisco. When she’s not writing, she’s enjoying her time outside with her dogs. Anica recommends online baby gear stores for your children’s clothing needs. Keep up with her on Twitter @anicaoaks.

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