I have always taken for granted how well equipped my little ones are to dress themselves. My three-year-old picks her clothes and dresses herself every morning and I can’t really remember a time when she didn’t.
Having three kids under four will definitely help develop that sort of independence early on, but I have always encouraged and supported them when they wanted to do things for themselves, especially learning to dress themselves, because let’s face it - when they have it mastered it’s a win for the parent!
Here are some ways you can encourage your little one to dress themselves:
Most, if not all little ones want to do things for themselves. It is usually us parents that find it inconvenient to begin with. Whether it is time or mess or the overwhelming need to do it for them, don’t. Give your little one extra time in the morning and let them do as much as they can themselves, with no rushing and no unprompted help.
Practice makes perfect, right? Let them practice at every opportunity. There are some activity boards you can use to encourage them to practise doing up buttons, zips and laces.
Start with taking off.
Taking clothes off is easier than putting them on, especially for a child. Start off by letting them take their clothes off before bed. They will get a feel for how it goes without any distractions.
It takes a while for a little one to grasp a new skill. For some parents, it takes some patience and self-control not to just take over at the first sign of failure. But, be patient with your little one. If they struggle with getting a top on or pulling on a sock, help them start again and encourage them to try again.
Give them easy options.
While they are learning, make sure to give them basic ‘easy’ options. Elastic trousers or leggings and simple tops are perfect for this, as are velcro shoes and wellies or boots. They need to master the basics first before they can move onto anything else!