My four and a half year old gets upset and hysterical when I try to dress him - how can I stop this?

(33 Posts)
Nancery Fri 18-Nov-16 09:25:00

I can't tell if this is just awkwardness or something else.

Every morning when I try to dress him we have the same argument. He won't wear anything willingly, and it is like I am trying to prise him into a scratchy jumper or a bag of bee's. Its horrible and we end up shouting almost every morning. Now it's cold I cannot let him not wear a proper coat and warm top, and so the situation is getting more fraught.

He has no skin issues, or medical issues, but has never liked being covered or dressed (as a baby he HATED those sleeping bags, for example). I am now wondering if it might be some kind of sensory issue rather than just bloody mindedness - is there such a thing...? I have no idea! Or is it just that he doesn't like it, and it has turned into a bigger and bigger deal?

He's a lovely easy going child in pretty much every other way and we are finding the daily drama's quite distressing!

Has anyone any experience of the same or any ideas...?

Thank you

Artandco Fri 18-Nov-16 09:27:00

At 4 1/2 surely he wants to dress himself? My 5 year old wouldn't enact to be dressed either, as he's been getting own clothes about 2 years.
At school from 4 they have to get changed themselves

CocktailQueen Fri 18-Nov-16 09:27:42

Is there anything he likes wearing at all? If so, buy sveral of those.

Can he choose his own clothes? Can he tell you why he doesn't want to get dressed? If you could work out what he doesn't like - itchy material, too tight, anything like that - it would help.

TwitterQueen1 Fri 18-Nov-16 09:28:12

Turn it all over to him - he's old enough. Ask him to pick his clothes out the night before and then to dress himself in the morning.

Mummamayhem Fri 18-Nov-16 09:28:44

I found getting mine dressed as soon as they were up, in their room before any other distractions helped. Then saying right, a soon as your dressed you can XYZ

they were younger though so maybe offer more choice in what he wears, encourage him to dress himself, make it a fun race perhaps?

TimeForCakeAgain Fri 18-Nov-16 09:33:40

How is he once the clothes are on? Does he try to take them off as soon as he can? That may indicate a sensory issue with the feel of the clothes. What about putting pyjamas on at night? Is that easier? (They are often softer, less restrictive).

CocoaX Fri 18-Nov-16 09:36:21

Sensory processing issues?

DS hates certain fabrics and textures, also certain fits of clothes. I now buy him what he can tolerate (including getting school trousers done in a fabric he can wear) - and he dresses himself no problem. Otherwise I would have a full on screaming and kicking meltdown <shudders at the memory>

CocoaX Fri 18-Nov-16 09:37:58

Yes to what TimeforCake says. PJs and onesies; or joggers and t-shirt were never an issue.

Nancery Fri 18-Nov-16 09:43:44

Thanks for the replies.
He doesn't really wear pyjamas - he doesn't like them!
He doesn't dress himself as, if I wasn't involved, it wouldn't happen. Hence, we do it together (in theory) but Iet him choose what he is putting on to try and give him some control over the situation. This has variable levels of success!

Cocktail and Time he is especially bad with warm tops, and pulls at them once they are on as if they are itchy or similar. They definitely aren't! Most of them are the Boden long sleeved t-shirts that don't even have labels in the back (labels make him worse, so we cut them out). We have major issues now with jumpers and warmer tops though, anything that is even vaguely restrictive (even though they are not in reality, I make a point of ensuring nothing is remotely tight or, in my view, uncomfortable.)

Nancery Fri 18-Nov-16 09:44:28

Cocoa your DS sounds as if he might be similar to mine

OohhThatsMe Fri 18-Nov-16 09:44:45

If he were to choose what to wear, what would it be?

Nancery Fri 18-Nov-16 09:45:39

his longish shorts and no top!

Nancery Fri 18-Nov-16 09:47:21

I think he is more funny about tops than bottoms, and in particular warm tops which isn't great now it's so cold. I try to layer with a vest too - he's not too bad with vests now - but getting on a warmer thicker top and / or a coat is AWFUL

TimeForCakeAgain Fri 18-Nov-16 09:47:49

It does sound like he could be over sensitive to things on his skin. Is he over sensitive in other ways e.g. unwilling to touch certain textures, hating having dirty hands etc. Or the other way, does he ever seek out textures e.g. wanting to stroke something?

imip Fri 18-Nov-16 09:49:10

Yes, it's sounds sensory driven. I have a dd8 with ASD and massive sensory issues. Been very much a feature of our lives since she was 3. TBH, I'd go with the flow. M&S do have a new range to accommodate for sensory issues, not too sure what it is called.

They may not be tight or itchy, but to him they are tight. It's really tricky stuff and took a long time for me to 'get' with dd. She will not wear socks or tights. She goes to school in leggings and any shoes we can get her into! See if you can make a few concessions for him, see what he will wear, and if that impacts getting dressed.

Nancery Fri 18-Nov-16 09:52:24

Time no, with anything or everything else there is nothing unusual to report at all. The clothes thing, while it is admittedly a big deal, is his only issue pretty much.

imip will have a look at the M&S stuff. I am thinking of going shopping with him so he can choose what we should buy and hope that that helps

TimeForCakeAgain Fri 18-Nov-16 09:55:55

Yes to what imip said. Can you get him involved in choosing clothes? I know this might be too much of a stress but there might be textures he tolerates better. If it is really affecting him and he has other symptoms of sensory processing issues you might want to speak to the GP about seeing a Paediatrician. I don't know how far you will get though, as I have typically come across sensory issues alongside Autism (not saying your DS has Autism, just that that is often why the children are seen by professionals).

Nancery Fri 18-Nov-16 09:58:10

I will take him to choose some and see how we get on. Hopefully it will improve things. He is okay with some of his stuff, but awful with others (e.g. warm clothes). He's definitely not autistic, but there is possibly some sensory issues (am Googling it as we speak!)

TimeForCakeAgain Fri 18-Nov-16 09:59:18

Oops cross post. That's good it's just that, hopefully you can find some that work for him.

mudandmayhem01 Fri 18-Nov-16 10:00:33

Some children just don't feel the cold, my ds is a bit older than yours but he wears shorts all year round, never wears his school jumper ( just a polo shirt) He has a very light weight puffa jacket which he carries to school in his bag ( mainly so I don't get accused of neglect!) He is extremely healthy, never gets colds I live in northern Britain and I think it is bloody freezing today, but still left for school without his coat on!

Spottyladybird Fri 18-Nov-16 10:17:00

We had issues with DD who is 3 and a half when the weather got cold. She likes wearing t shirt type dressed in the summer so hated long sleeves etc.
We went through why we have to wrap up warm (at another time), I took her shopping and let her pick things she thought looked comfy and warm and since then has been better.
I have to say I was also an awful mummy one day and let her come in the garden with a short sleeved t shirt and leggings then when she complained that she was cold I asked how we could sort it- visible penny dropping moment!

mudandmayhem01 Fri 18-Nov-16 10:29:32

Spotty, letting her experience what it actually feels like to be cold is great way to deal with this. Pick your battles, walk to school with his coat slung casually over your arm and let him ask to wear it.

CocoaX Fri 18-Nov-16 10:33:46

DS is being assessed for ASD but the paediatric occupational therapy workshop I went to was clear that sensory issues could occur without this (a couple of the parents were kind of horrified at the suggestion their DC might be on the spectrum, whereas I am thankful for any and all recognition that DS could be, given other behaviours. You need to judge in the context of your own child).

Nancery Fri 18-Nov-16 10:34:20

I have just been reading about possible sensory issues. IF he has something like that, it is certainly a mild, albeit inconvenient, form. I think you're right, he doesn't feel the cold but he does also react quite violently towards certain things - especially of the warm clothing variety. Reading the accounts I have of sensory issues, his is not severe enough to go to the GP and try and get a referral for but I do think he has some of the same traits.

I spoke to his teacher about it the other day and then he threw a wobbler when SHE tried to get him to put his coat on. She was quite surprised as she had not seen him behave like that before. They are going to drip feed the importance of being warm when it's very cold outside too so hopefully that might have an effect (if it's more psychological than physical.)

And I agree with the person who said they don't want to be accused of neglect!!

Nancery Fri 18-Nov-16 10:36:09

Mud we tried the lack of coat thing too, last year. It did work, but we had to have extremely cold weather first!! However, I am more concerned with getting him in something warm under his coat, even just a sweatshirt, without it descending into a drama

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