Button-Up Baby: Tips Help Your Toddler Learn Independence and Dress Themselves

learn independence, toddler, dress themselves
Image via Flickr/ Quinn Dombrowski

Mornings are rough for a lot of people. They’re especially rough for the parents of preschoolers who want to do it (all of it) by themselves. If your toddler has expressed an interest in getting themselves ready in the morning on their own, pants and all, check out the tips below to help them learn independence and dress themselves with success!

  1. Choose simple clothes

While your preschooler is learning to get dressed by himself, make sure that their drawers are stocked with plenty of easy-to-put-on clothes. Sports shorts or sweat pants are easier for kids to pull on than overalls or pants with buttons and zippers. Instead of choosing tops with tight collars that may be tough for a toddler to pull over their head, choose soft, stretchy t-shirts.

  1. Lay out outfits in advance

When young kids are learning to dress themselves, limiting choice can be a good thing. Instead of asking your toddler to sort through their entire wardrobe for an appropriate outfit, lay out one or two choices in advance. 

{ MORE: Does My Child Need Occupational Therapy? }

  1. Stand back

Even if your toddler is having a hard time, stand back and let them try. If your toddler is becoming frustrated, consider asking if they’d like help or instructions instead of jumping in before they’re ready to accept assistance.

  1. Let them rock it however they put it on

Underpants on backward? Shirt on inside out? When your toddler is learning to dress herself she is probably going make some mistakes. Before you correct mistakes or ask them to change, ask yourself if their mishap really matters? You might want to help them correct their outfit if they’re headed off to an important family event. But it doesn’t matter if their underpants are on inside out if they’re just hanging out at home. Whenever possible, boost your little one's confidence with a big thumbs up rather than asking them to adjust their outfit. 

{ MORE: Should Your Toddler Be Taking a Daily Vitamin? }

How did you help your little one learn independence through getting dressed him or herself?

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Button-Up Baby: Tips Help Your Toddler Learn Independence and Dress Themselves

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. She is writing a memoir on pregnancy, motherhood, and sisterhood and lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. ... More

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