Techniques to teach toddlers to dress themselves - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 01-07-2007, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Can someone tell me the tricks of the trade when it comes to getting your child to put on clothes independently? My ds is 27 months and I am sure capable of dressing at least partially.
I am a SAHM, so we usually have plenty of time to try.

The one problem is that he prefers to be naked, so getting dressed is not his favorite activity-at least when I am trying to do it for him!
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#2 of 3 Old 01-07-2007, 03:29 PM
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teaching a little nature lover to put their own clothes on (and leave them on!) may be a real challenge!

A few ideas...a large doll that has easy on/easy off clothes could help. Your little one can help dress (or undress as the case may be) the doll and get an idea for the process. I've seen dolls that come with a variety of zippers, snaps, velcro, buttons, ties, etc but I'm sure any doll with a few outfits would work.

You could also look into buying or making montessori style dressing frames (they're not hard to make). Just google "montessori dressing frames" and you'll find lots of images and ideas. One site is

Basically the dressing board is a frame or board with part of an item of clothing on your little one can practice lacing, or buttoning, or zipping or whatever the clothing happens to require.

Also maybe let your little one pick out the clothes he would like to wear? My DD loves putting on and taking of clothes (she's 21mo) but it has to be her choice. If DH or I have a specific outfit in mind the process doesn't go nearly as well!

Good luck

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#3 of 3 Old 01-07-2007, 03:38 PM
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I think you have to be very matter-of-fact about it. With a two-year-old, if they see you are too invested in them doing something, the natural tendency is to balk.
Make sure that you have plenty of time at first.

Lay out the clothing in a line. First underpants, then t-shirt, socks, pants, shirt, shoes.
The first several time be there to help as the child goes down the line. Pants and underpants should be facing the child waist first to he just sits down and puts his feet in, then stands to pull up.
Shirt should be face down, waist facing him so he puts his head and arms in and then pulls down.
With a button down shirt or jacket or sweater, have the item with shoulders and top of item facing him so the inside of the item is facing up from the floor.
He or she places their hands in the sleeves, then flips the item over his/her head while putting the sleeves on.
Eventually the child will be able to spread the clothes on the floor himself and then eventually not even need them spread.

Children at this age love to be independent and the more you let them, the more smoothly self-care will go.
Good luck, It does work, my children were getting dressed by themselves for the most part by 2 1/2 years. It will work if you have patience.
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