Teaching your preschooler to dress himself can be extremely frustrating. However, it doesn’t have to be. Children between the ages of 4 and 5 years old can quickly learn how to dress themselves without too much frustration. There are some simple steps that should be followed so that your preschooler can effectively learn to dress themselves.
Generally mornings can be a time that is very chaotic and rushed. Most times, it is much easier to simply dress your preschooler, rather than allowing them the extra time to dress themselves. However, by learning to dress and undress them, they are not only learning independence, they are also working on improving their logical thinking and motor skills.
If you are at the point where you want to allow your child to learn to dress himself, you may want to allow for extra time. Therefore, if your mornings are generally a chaotic time, consider getting up a bit earlier. This will give both you and your preschooler that extra time needed, to allow him to dress himself, without the feeling of being rushed. It is important that you are there to assist your little one with getting dressed, without taking over and doing it for him.
When your little one is learning to dress himself, it is important that you keep in mind that it doesn’t matter what order he does it in. If he wants to put his pants on before he puts his socks on, it is ok.
In order for your child to master the skills involved in dressing himself, he will need the encouragement and opportunity to practice by himself. The more you allow him to dress himself and practice this skill, the better he will become.
Whether your little one is enthusiastic to take charge or simply uninterested, there are a variety of things you can do to make things simpler. Begin by purchasing simple clothing. Clothes such as overalls and pants with snaps, zippers and buttons can be set aside for special occasions. Pants with elastic waistbands and loose T-shirts are the best way to go in the beginning. If you have a daughter, consider purchasing slip on dresses with larger armholes or skirts with elastic waistbands. When purchasing socks, consider purchasing ones with fitted heels, this way, your child won’t have to try and figure out which way the sock goes on.
When your child is first learning to dress by themselves, consider purchasing clothes that are a size bigger. This is especially true if your little one is between sizes. You may want to let your little one practice with your socks, in order to get the hang of it. The larger the clothes, the easier it is for kids to get them on and off without assistance.
In order to lessen the stress of dressing routine, let your little one pick out what they want to wear. Preschoolers begin developing their own taste and personality and therefore will enjoy picking out their own clothes. Although your preschooler may come up with some extremely crazy combinations, he will quickly learn to associate the fun of picking out his own clothes with the pure satisfaction of putting them on.
One way of helping your preschooler pick out his own clothes, without it getting out of hand is to lay out two coordinating outfits. This way, he can mix and match between the different pieces, yet still feel like he made the final decision in what he chose to wear. Young children are often drawn to brightly colored clothes. This is generally acceptable, as long as the colors coordinate with one other. Therefore, pick outfits out that are easily interchangeable so that your preschooler will have an easier time attempting to match their clothes, while still displaying their own fashion sense.
Another struggling point for many preschoolers is learning to tie their own shoes. If possible, avoid the shoes with Velcro, so that your little one will learn how to tie his own shoes. This can be a very frustrating process for both parent and child. Therefore, be willing to try this in small steps. Do not overwhelm yourself or your preschooler.
There are a few tricks that will help your little one to learn to tie their shoes a lot easier. One of the most common tricks for teaching a preschooler to tie his shoes is the bunny ears method. Demonstrate to your child how to make the laces resemble “bunny ears”. Next, he will need to try and secure a knot through the bunny’s head. Make an X by crossing the bunny’s ears over. Then, pull one ear through the underside of the X and pull tightly. This example will help your child learn to ties his shoes on his own.
Another method is to pick up a book at your local library or book store on learning to tie shoes. There are books that have a shoe with laces so that your preschooler can practice learning to tie. The more he practices, the better and more efficient he will become. There are also some toys that can come with shoe strings so that your little one can learn to tie.
One of the most important things you need to remember when teaching your preschooler to dress himself and tie his own shoes is patience. Your little one will get the hang of this in his own time. Don’t push him into doing it your time. Before you know it, your child will be dressing himself without any assistance.
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