Getting a toddler/preschooler dressed is normally less about the skill involved (although that certainly takes a lot of practice),and more about the battle of the wills…or at least this is the case in our house.
Last summer, Big Brother (2 1/2 at the time) decided he wanted to start choosing his own clothes. I resisted at first, intent on having him dressed in the cute outfits we bought him. And then I decided one morning the battle wasn’t worth it. Why in the world does it matter if he wears mismatched clothes while we’re at home or even out to run a few errands???
Letting Big Brother choose his clothes on the days that it really doesn’t matter has made a huge difference in our mornings. Monday through Friday Big Brother basically gets to choose what he wants to wear (until school starts, that is). On Sundays, we choose. If he starts to throw a fit about it on Saturdays or Sundays, we calmly remind him that he has had lots of “turns” choosing his clothes and now it is Mommy and Daddy’s turn. This reasoning typically sits well with him.
In addition to limiting battles, letting your child choose his/her own clothing lets them gain a bit of independence. Handing over a little bit of “control” in this instance will help when the bigger issues crop up and is worthy of a waged battle (safety and respect issues, for instance).
As for the “how” to teach your child to dress themselves, this simply takes lots and lots of practice (just like teaching your child to use a spoon). Be patient…it will happen! Start with shorts (especially those with an elastic waist band), as they seem to be the easiest to put on if you show your child how to put leg in each “hole”, stand up, and pull the shorts to his/her waste. Big Brother just recently is able to put on his own shirt. It’s backwards 75% of the time…but who cares, right?
What tips or tricks do you have for teaching your child to dress him/herself?