Getting Your Toddler Dressed Can Be Fun
It's a cold, wet, and windy day and your toddler is bouncing around the house wearing a cool summer dress and insisting they go outside and play. Worse is when your toddler refuses to wear any clothes. Every parent has experienced this at some time and it can be incredibly frustrating. Short of tackling them to the ground and forcing them to dress, how do you balance their need to assert their independence with your need to keep them warm?
Try and figure out why your toddler doesn't want to get dressed
The minds of toddlers can be baffling but with a bit of practice, you can start to gauge what their mood is and this can give you a clue. Are they caught up in the anticipation of playing? Perhaps they want to get dressed themselves or don't like the clothes you chose. My middle daughter plays a game where she runs away and hides before she gets dressed. To start with, I had no idea what she was doing, but now we play the game and then she gets dressed amidst much laughter and talk, moments I wouldn't miss for the world.
Have a routine
If we do something the same way, our children soon learn to anticipate it. Just like you have bath and bed rituals, you can have a morning ritual that encompasses getting dressed for the day. Our morning ritual goes something along the lines of wake up, breakfast, shower, brush teeth, get dressed, and do our hair. Then we go out or play. Decide what works best for you and stick with it. If your child knows that after they are dressed they can play, it is much easier.
Manage the environment
Only have clothes you're happy for your toddler to wear in their room or where they can reach them. Store off season clothing elsewhere so that your child can choose an appropriate outfit to wear if they decide to dress themselves. If you find that having too much choice is overwhelming for your child, choose the clothes together the night before and place them on a dresser or chair where they can reach them. This helps to encourage their independence and sense of achievement from doing something themselves without it turning into a test of wills.
Go with the flow and make a game of it
When all else fails, make a game of it. Chase your toddler, tickle them, sing songs, and play games. Talk about the weather. Pretend you are trees blowing in the wind and talk about how cold the wind is, how you need to wear a warm jacket and mittens. If you need to wear special clothing for an activity, discuss the clothes you will be wearing and why you need them.
If you change your perspective and look at dressing your toddler as a way to engage with them in a fun way, instead of it being a chore, you will find that your dressing woes will disappear.