How well can your 3yo dress themselves?(14 Posts)
My DD (3.4) is a fiercely independent little girl who wants to do everything herself...that is except dressing/undressing.
She has absolutely no interest or preference in what she wears and will stand nice and still while I get her ready. Whilst very easy for me, I don't get any sense that she wants to learn to dress herself and when she does try, she's easily frustrated and wants me to do it for her.
DD can put on her coat and boots and pulls trousers and knickers up and down for going to the loo (neither actually on or off) but that's it. Is this ok? Any tips on encouraging her with her other clothes.
Good question, my DD is 3.3 & can do knickers & leggings no problem, tights might need bit of help. She needs bit more help with her vests, tops & dresses but once over her head can usually get arms in ok. She can do socks but insists she can't & I can't be bothered to argue if I'm honest! Coat & shoes she's ok though. She's also not that fussed by what she wears & I'm enjoying that whilst it lasts!!
DD 3.7 can do pretty much everything now other than small buttons poppers, although doesn't always want to and can be slow. She's only just started managing to turn clothes right side out, and still can struggle if things get caught up.
Afraid I can't offer any advice on how to get to that though, she's always been engaged in doing it.
As an early years practitioner working with 2-3 year olds, I do a lot of encouraging children to get themselves dressed and undressed before and after sleep time (a lot of this is to do with the fact that it's hard trying to get a number of children changed at the same time). To start with you do get a lot of 'I can't do it'. If I can see that they are clearly not trying I find myself saying a lot 'yes you can, you need to try' and then carry on doing something else or help another child.
Obviously it depends on the time you have but talking through with dad what they need to do step by step also helps with lots of praise once she's done it or at least tried. Saying things like 'I need you to show me how well you can get dressed cos I need to go and get ...' And then leaving her to get on with it sometimes works better then standing around and waiting for her to do it. Turning it into a game can also work, for example: 'lets count and see how quick you can put your pyjamas on'. Reverse psychology: 'I bet you can't get dressed by the time I've gone and got my shoes on'.
Before you know it your 3yo will be dressing herself, she'll be going to nursery with everything the wrong way round (cos you won't have the heart to tell her it's on back to front!) and you'd wished you'd never worried (or bothered).
I swore blind on Friday that DD3.10 couldn't dress herself and was totally incapable of doing so. Saturday morning I told her she was going to get dressed by herself as we had some spare time. I talked her through it and only helped a bit to get 1 arm in her t-shirt. I was amazed she could do it.
My nearly 4yo would prefer me to help, but given suitable encouragement and clothes laid out the right way round she can do everything except buttons and poppers and the bottom of zips.
I find being busy elsewhere and then feigning enormous, jaw-dropping surprise when she appears with her clothes on works pretty well.
My son can do everything except poppers and buttons. I brought in a routine of laying things out the night before and sometimes I race him to get dressed. I think that helped and made it a game.
DD is 3.4 and can do most of it but does need help with tights. She can do a zip (most times) and is learning buttons (I get her to help me button up the duvet cover when we change the bedding!). We do seem to have an issue with clothes being on the right way round though. She'll get them on the right way eg not inside out but we often have trousers with the back pockets at the front 50% of the time.
She's not the easiest to get dressed. As in she likes to procrastinate and finds a distraction instead. But we put the clothes on the radiator and she likes putting them on quickly to try to 'not let the warm get out'.
And we sometimes use a 2 min egg timer. Also useful when we do '2 min tidy up', '2 min brush teeth' and '2 min lay the table'. Brilliant tactics! Although I am a little concerned that she'll start to think everything's a race soon.
And its useful if you have pants and t-shirts with a motif or picture on the front to help them know which way is the right way. I was trying to explain how the label needs to be at the bottom/back but not all her clothes have labels like that, especially the pants
Dd has been able to do it all for a hood while. Except for buttons on the back. She is coming up to 3. Are you giving her time to learn and practice or always in a rush?
I did most of it at 3 for DS1, getting him to do the last bit - pulling the trousers over his pants, putting the arms in himself, velcroing the shoes, pulling up socks etc, gradually doing less while he did more. By the time he was about 3.10 he was quite proficient. His downfall is buttons so while we have those, for nursery I have popper trousers or elasticated waists which he manages no problem.
At 4.4 he's better at dressing than a fair amount of boys in his nursery group,(most of the girls managed it ages ago).
My youngest was my latest and leastmotivated to learn to dress himself - ppretty sure there were 3 factors
1) When his older siblings were 2-3 we didn't have to rush to get anyone to school, so I could just wait til they dressed themselves and not get stressed. Since DC3 was a few months old we've needed to be quickand eefficient in the mornings meaning I dressed him for too long to keep things moving swiftly
2) He has too much help - if I get on with something he'll often ask an older sibling to help, and they both rather like dressing him
3) He had too many clothes which were not easily accessible to him to help himself and make his own choices from (partly due to having so much passed down in addition to things bought for him, partly due to space)
Solving 3) and having a word with siblings only to help him if he was actually stuck were the break through for us.
I sorted his clothes into little baskets on shelves - a basket of pants, a basket of socks, a basket of short sleeved T shirts, a basket of long sleeved, a basket of jumpers, etc. Etc.
This makes it much easier for him to select his clothes and dress himself than when some things were on hangers and some in drawers etc. Etc.
My eldest dressed herself at 2 and my DC2 just started did it of his own accord too, maybe a bit later but before turning 3. DC3 has been later with all the self care stuff, but since I sorted his baskets he has always dressed himself completely, from just before he turned 3.5. He has mainly "easy" clothes which helps too - he still needs help with the odd awkward button, but rarely now. He's3 years 9 months.
Kindergarten (which starts at 3) expects/ encourages the children to get themselves changed for sport and to put their own coats/ waterproof trousers/ shoes/ boots on to go outside, so the idea he "should" be doing it himself is reinforced there, which can only help.
All my kids have always had firm opinions on their own clothing, from as soon as they could talk, so that probably also helps but isn't something that can be manufactured(eexcept by allowing them choice and buying things they like rather than just what you like).
Oh yes - to avoid procrastination for kids of any age, I swear by an unbreakable rule that on a school day nobody is allowed downstairs in pyjamas ever, under any circumstances (unless the house is on fire). This hurries them along as they hate to be left behind when everyone else heads downstairs for breakfast.
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