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Grrrrrr.....dressing toddler, why is it such a battle?

(25 Posts)
RightyTightyLeftyLoosey Mon 24-Nov-14 09:37:40

DS is 2.5 and has become very mischievous recently, which is lovely sometimes but is really making life difficult in the mornings.
Like all toddlers he hates getting dressed/clothes in general, but this is getting really wearing.

Getting him dressed takes literally hours, he runs away cackling/ hides and thinks it's hilarious, while I get more and more wound up. (if it was for 5 mins it would be funny, but it's literally hours every morning)
I have tried calmly talking, putting him in the spare room (no distractions) for a few minutes to calm down, but it makes no difference, if anything it makes it worse.
Even bribing/ putting him in front of cbeebies doesn't work.

If we really have to be somewhere important like the Doctors etc. I pin him down, and force him into clothes, but its horrible and I feel crap doing it. I really don't want to have to do it every single time. So more often than not I've given up.

This is having a detrimental effect on his social life as all the good playgroups, things for toddlers round here are in the morning and I don't drive so by the time I've got him dressed, waited for bus/walked there it's too late.

I should add that I am really stressed anyway atm due to various things so I may be blowing this out of proportion!

Thanks for reading, post is quite long blush

RightyTightyLeftyLoosey Mon 24-Nov-14 09:44:51

Have slowly turned into shouty morning mum! sad
Any advice/ perspective wecome!

Morrigu Mon 24-Nov-14 09:50:56

Would he be able to dress himself? Get him to pick out his own clothes even? Dd similar age and freaks out if I dress her so I let her do it herself, lots of praise for being a big girl and she's all proud of herself.

RightyTightyLeftyLoosey Mon 24-Nov-14 09:58:49

Have tried that as well, though only a couple of times when he was already being awkward. Just chooses the clothes then throws them round the room, followed by the running/laughing/hiding routine.

RightyTightyLeftyLoosey Mon 24-Nov-14 10:01:33

If I start with the choosing clothes and try and make it a big deal that he's being like mummy and dressing himself it might work.

Thanks Morrigu, it's been winding me up so much recently it's become hard to think rationally about it.

Riceball Mon 24-Nov-14 10:04:00

Don't know if I'll be much help because both my children still do this now and again. I find it so frustrating especially when we need to be somewhere! Things that make it better are:

Complete change of routine for example putting clothes on first thing before breakfast, instead of after.

Putting clothes on together and having a race.

Choosing own clothes especially if Peppa Pig or character related.

Taking them out in their various stages of undress with clothes in a plastic bag. I do this on the school run. I tell my older child I will take her to school in her pyjamas (the threat is always enough) and I take the younger child in her pyjamas in the pushchair if she refuses to get dressed. Sounds harsh but they need to know consequences.

Morrigu Mon 24-Nov-14 10:11:16

Totally understand Righty, my eldest at 7 is actually the worst and I'm shouty mum most mornings before school. Making it into a race with his sis works well with him or using a stopwatch.

RightyTightyLeftyLoosey Mon 24-Nov-14 10:12:33

Riceball the thought of taking him out "as is" has crossed my mind before, but wasn't sure if stress and frustration were making me unreasonable!

Some good ideas thank you.
Getting him to get dressed before breakfast might work, as he is a bit quieter first thing. Have resisted this so far as he will then spend all day covered in egg/peanut butter/ banana but I'm not usually prissy about his clothes so tbh it might be a small price to pay for easier mornings! smile

Riceball Mon 24-Nov-14 10:17:50

I think they get into the habit of doing it so trying to find ways to break that habit is effective. As I say, my two are a work in progress!!smile

RightyTightyLeftyLoosey Mon 24-Nov-14 10:17:51

Morrigu sometimes I leave the room to calm down and one of the things that makes me feel better is thinking of all the other frustrated and sleep deprived parents shouting/begging/bribing in the morning!
That might be a bit Schadenfreude but it makes me feel less like a crap parent grin

RightyTightyLeftyLoosey Mon 24-Nov-14 10:19:00

So brew and cake for all who've spent the morning dressing children! smile

Riceball Mon 24-Nov-14 10:21:27

Indeed brewcakecake

FelixTitling Mon 24-Nov-14 10:25:43

Yy to what riceball says re dressing as you go. It works! Mine are older now, but this is what I used to do. Have blankets in the car and pram all the time so they can be warm. Put the rest in a bag and go. Don't make it a threat though, just do it. Who cares whatever other people think. They soon learn that it's better to have shoes on outside. It doesn't last for ever.

Also, make sure their clothes are comfortable. Nothing to tight or restrictive.

At the very least, you might get some v cute photos out of it. We have one of dd in the snow in her wellies, hat scarf mittens and top, nappy, but no trousers. She lasted about. 20 seconds before demanding to put them on.

Morrigu Mon 24-Nov-14 10:26:39

grin I like it. I lived in a semi detached for a while and my next door neighbour had three kids to get ready in the morning. Lovely woman who was pretty chilled and relaxed with her kids bar morning times as I could hear her. Always made me feel slightly better.

RightyTightyLeftyLoosey Mon 24-Nov-14 10:40:39

Thanks Felix that does make me feel better about trying that tactic!
I half expected to be the subject of an AIBU if I did it......
"AIBU to think this parent should dress their DC appropiately and not take them out in pants?" grin

Yes Morrigu.....other peoples parenting can be very reassuring! Like realising in Aldi the other day that he wasn't the only toddler in the world who desperately wants to run round pulling stuff of shelves! grin

tomatoplantproject Mon 24-Nov-14 10:50:07

This won't help if you are in a rush but I have been known to put dd in her cot and sitting in her room ignoring her until she is ready to get dressed. It took about half an hour the first time before she agreed but I would rather do battle of wills (and hold out) than get too physically rough with her.

RightyTightyLeftyLoosey Mon 24-Nov-14 10:53:29

Right, he has woken up after a sadly brief nap so in I go for round 2!
I may be sometime wink

Thanks for all helpful suggestions, starting tomorrow I think with new routine and dressing himself/ lots of praise. If that doesn't work it's out in our pants time!

RightyTightyLeftyLoosey Mon 24-Nov-14 10:54:46

Ha - "Our pants" .....clearly will not be leaving in just my pants!
Meant to type "his pants" grin

WeGotThere Mon 24-Nov-14 11:59:20

You are def not the only one! My 2yr8m old daughter is a right pain in the neck a lot of the time and it just amuses her if I get annoyed about it.
She point blank refuses to let me put any clothes on her "I do it myself" has been her favourite phrase since she turned 2.
I make her get dressed as soon as she wakes up in a 'let's surprise Daddy when he gets out the shower/can you get dressed before baby brother and I?/ no breakfast until we're all ready' kind of way. She chooses her clothes before bed and puts them on her chair ready for the morning. A couple of times recently she's even arrived in our bedroom fully dressed (but usually she just comes in starkers shouting "Tada!" And as we stupidly laughed the first time she did it she thinks it's brilliant.)
I have also carried her into car half dressed once - and have never had to do it again.
Good luck, strong coffee, cake, and wine for end of day .....

Jaffakake Mon 24-Nov-14 17:45:54

I've deployed different tactics over time:

1 When getting ready at same time ask ds to get dressed, get tshirt & try to put on. If no joy just walk off & start getting self ready. Revisit & ask at various convenient points but if no joy, ignore till I'm ready then gave the argument! At least then I'm ready.

2 Say ds can go downstairs & get snack / watch Tv / play with favourite toy etc. if they get ready quickly. If not, don't get what they want. If they do I have a nice time getting myself ready.

3 Star chart + pretending I'm a cbeebies presenter (bloody hard work in the morning!)

4 putting in car in various states of undress - no socks, shoes, tshirt (even in midwinter!)

5 pretending I'm going to leave him behind on his own - even shutting front door - now I just have to put my coat on & it works!

Nursery told me they wouldn't judge me if I dropped him off in his pj's, but luckily I've never had too!

I think I sound mean, but tbh I have to get him out on my own & get to work and he generally knows I mean business these days. Finding a motivation made a lot of difference. Food is definitely it for my little human dustbin.

NannyNim Mon 24-Nov-14 17:59:53

Reading this with interest as I have a feeling my LO is just about to enter this phase. We can currently spend up to 5mins standing rooted to the spot while I calmly repeat the phrase "Please pull your trousers down". There are no tears or drama. He just says "No. NannyNim do it" or "I not want to" very calmly back. I can imagine that before long it's going to become more and more of a game and thus more and more of a battle.

grin at everyone taking their DCs out in various states of undress! My current threat is "Well, we can't go to X if you don't have your trousers on!" It works but it clearly won't last much longer!

Shadow1986 Mon 24-Nov-14 18:09:43

Same here! Twin 2.5 year olds...every time I need to leave the house is an ordeal.

One tip that hopefully will help (sorry if I repeat I didn't read other responses) - pick two tops, 'do you want to wear this one or this one?' They enjoy picking their own clothes so much more. So give him two options but both options result in him getting dressed, like 'mummy put your pants on or you do it?' 'Blue socks or green socks?' - yes it's a bit tedious but does work.

seasaltbaby Mon 24-Nov-14 18:33:50

Argh been there so many times & at 3 I would say DD is just about over this. The thing that really made the difference is the routine & getting dressed first thing before going downstairs for breakfast. If she refused I'd go downstairs & leave her few mins until she decided she was ready! I also went through a stage of pretending her toys were watching her to see how quick she could do it & they would give her Lots & lots of praise when done quick. It's so frustrating as in reality it can take less than five mins & then turns into a massive battle!
Interestingly the other day I broke the rule & let her downstairs in her pjs, it was the weekend so no rushing anywhere, I thought 'she's a bit older now, I can relax the rules'. Not so. Ended up in a ridiculous fight about it & took forever so not doing that again!!

Yackity Mon 24-Nov-14 19:47:21

Dress him straight out of bed, and then pop on a large t-shirt/shirt (one of your old ones perhaps) over the top. After breakfast just slip it off. Easier to get something like this OFF them than it is to get them dressed.

LittlePink Tue 25-Nov-14 14:04:19

The only thing that helps with my 2.5 yr old is giving her my phone and putting on hooplakidz on youtube. I put on one that goes on for over an hour so I don't have to keep putting new ones on and she sits and watches the nursery rhymes like butter wouldn't melt! Otherwise she would be the same as your DS. Running off, refusals, messing around, tears and tantrums. She needs a distraction. Its like the aquafresh teeth brushing app. Cant believe I battled for so long when that was there all the time. Now teeth brushing is great and if she refuses to come and get ready for bed then I say "that's fine. Mummys going to go and choose some hats then" (once the little man has done his song and dance the child gets to dress him up with a huge choice of hats, coats, dresses etc) and she says "no! I choose the hats" and she stands against the bed and keeps herself busy choosing hats, jackets, shoes etc while I get her nappy and pyjamas on. My iPhone has saved me ALOT of hassle since ive had it!

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