An important skill toddlers need to learn is dressing themselves. You may find that some children will show interest in this daily activity, whereas others will happily receive help and let their parents dress them.
But learning to get dressed is a great milestone for children as it builds confidence and independence; it gives them a sense of accomplishment! Along with this, it's great for developing these important skills:
Gross motor skills - balance and coordination when putting on clothes
Fine motor skills - using small objects such as zips and buttons
Cognitive skills - remembering what clothes go where, and understanding different clothes for the weather.
Children will also start to learn the names of different clothing items, learn different colours and patterns and may even start to have favourites.
Below are some useful tips on helping your children learn how to dress themselves.
- Start on a smaller scale
Children can start to learn to dress and identify where different clothes belong, by dressing and practising on their toys. Dolls or teddies can be used to dress up in small clothes, which help children understand how clothes fit and where body parts need to go for them to be comfortable and worn correctly.
- Find easy and practical clothing
When your child is first starting to dress themselves, having easily accessible clothing will help them develop their skills without (hopefully!) being too frustrating for them. This could mean shoes that have velcro fastenings, or jackets with large buttons. Even clothing without fastenings, such as loungewear, will help their learning.
These items will be much easier for your child to try with, giving them the confidence to attempt different pieces that require more patience and practice.
- Include their interests
Finding clothing with your child’s favourite characters or designs will encourage them to want to help with getting dressed, and as an added bonus can help them differentiate between the front and back of clothes.
They'll love picking their own clothes to wear, giving them a little boost of confidence and identity.
And after all, who doesn't love getting into their favourite outfit whether it's for going out or getting ready for bed!