Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tips to Teach Your Toddler How to Dress Herself

In our preschool class, we wear smocks for messy projects. Our goal by the end of the school year is that every child can put the smock on and take it off herself. Our smocks are old large t-shirts, so it’s just a matter of whether or not the child knows how to get dressed by herself.

This is an important lesson to teach your toddler by about the age of three. The child learns many skills, including how to navigate sleeve holes, buttons, and even which shoe belongs on which foot. But, it also teaches her independence, and a sense of accomplishment that she got dressed by herself. The icing on the cake is the time that is freed up in your morning routine, not having to dress her yourself.

Part of this process involves allowing her to choose her own clothes. That’s not always easy. We had one little girl in our class who wore the same pink dress to school every day for two months. She insisted on wearing it because it was her favorite, and her mother chose not to fight that battle every morning. Eventually, her mother took her shopping and allowed her to pick out several new outfits. That at least expanded her repertoire.

If you want some control over what your child wears, you can offer her choices.
Before she goes to bed at night, let her choose between two outfits that you have selected. Giving her the choice makes her feel more independent, and by doing it the night before, she can take her time in making the decision. But, if your daughter hates to wear dresses, having her choose between two different dresses will probably not fly. You must take her tastes into consideration, as well. As much as you might wish she’d wear a dress, the choices will need to be pants outfits.

The bottom line is that she is capable of dressing herself, and this is an important skill to begin teaching her.

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