Whether you have a child of your own or are taking care of children in a school or other environment, one of the essential skills you must eventually teach them is how to dress themselves. Starting when your child is a toddler, you should start to show them how to get dressed in the most simple manner. By the time they are ready for kindergarten, your child or children should be ready to start dressing themselves every day.
However, it’s not always easy to teach kids how to get dressed. There are a number of difficult steps that take fine motor skills, especially when it comes to small pieces like buttons and zippers. It also requires that children put on their clothing in the right order and to choose seasonally appropriate clothes to wear on that day.
First, start by teaching your kids how to choose their outerwear for the day. Have them look outside and decide what would be a good choice for the weather. For example, if it’s snowing out, have them choose a hat, scarf, coat, and mittens and put on the hat and scarf by themselves.
Second, work on the larger pieces of everyday wear that require few small motor skills and more gross motor skills. These include shirts, pants, and socks. Let kids practice with oversized t-shirts first, then have them put on their own loose pajama tops and bottoms. Practice putting socks on and taking them off. Then, move on to putting on boots, sandals, and other shoes that are easy to slip on. Mastering these items will help them gain confidence for the more difficult steps to dressing themselves.
Finally, work with your kid or kids on mastering the fine motor skills necessary to do things like button up shirts, slide zippers, and use snaps. It may be helpful to practice on a board first or on a large doll. Then, teach them to use items like buckles on belts. You can practice using kids western belts from a retailer like Gavere Leather until they get the confidence to try it while wearing it.
When they first walk out of the house dressed in a cool outfit with a nice belt on, they’ll be very proud of all the hard work that they did. And you’ll be proud of their hard work and accomplishment, too.