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tips for getting a toddler dressed without tantrums

(13 Posts)
kate1516 Sat 31-Oct-15 08:10:36

Hi, hoping for some advice.

My toddler has started having major tantrums and fighting every time we try and get him dressed or undressed. He used to occasionally refuse but be okay most times but now every time is a battle even just putting shoes on and can take an hour to get three items of clothes on. Had an hours tantrum last night because he didn't want to put his pyjamas on for bed. I let him sleep in a t shirt and trousers but he also wanted his shoes and winter coat!

I have tried;

Distracting him with toys or tv,
Leaving it and trying later,
Letting him pick what to wear (really isn't interested), or what to take off first,
Trying to get him to do it himself,
Telling him clearly as an order and telling him he is naughty when he refuses,
I have also just forced him to dress or undress but he fights every step of the way and we both end up upset and angry so just doesn't feel like a solution.

Really at the end of my tether. It all seems to have really escalated the last few weeks. Before that one of the above techniques would work. It's making me dread attempting to leave the house or get him ready for bed. It's not just dressing he hates it's nappies or doing anything he isn't interested in.

Anyone had this? Is it a case of do what we always did and ride it out or start again with a new technique?

zombieme8 Sat 31-Oct-15 08:17:47

I used to say if dd got dressed quickly and without fighting then there would be time for x,y,z (in her case watching one episode of peppa pig or reading a short story). Could you try a sticker chart? Start with letting him choose a sticker every time he gets dressed, puts on a coat/shoes/hat, gets undressed without a row then when he has (3?) stickers he can choose a prize (for potty training I had a jar of small plastic dinosaurs). Let him display them, play by lining them up etc and you get really excited and involved with playing with them too. Then when he does that, move it so he has to go a whole day of getting dressed etc to get a dinosaur then a whole week of putting his coat on etc. Make sure you make the rules and rewards clear to him.

Otherwise, just know that I'm pretty sure they all go through this stage and it will pass eventually smile

IndomitabIe Sat 31-Oct-15 08:24:47

DS is was a major tantrummer. About anything and everything. No reason, he just likes to argue. don't know where he gets that from

We found the best way to deal with him was to accept that the screamathon would happen anyway and use the strategy that would keep it shortest/easiest.

In your case, speed dress him and step away.

DS is not like other children though, this might not be the right strategy for everyone (likewise, the usual strategies don't work for him).

Since we started this approach, it's been less stressful for everyone. And since he turned 4 the tantrums have thankfully finally started to abate.

Good luck thanks

IndomitabIe Sat 31-Oct-15 08:28:07

See, sticker chart is just another thing to shout about in DSs world. We get endless negotiation and arguing about it and more tantrums when he can't have a sticker because he had tantrums. (I swear he learned to argue before he was 18 months old).

It's probably a more reasonable starting place though!

kate1516 Sat 31-Oct-15 14:25:43

Thank you all. I might try sticker chart. He might be able to understand that now and it be a novelty. We had previously tried bribery I. E. We can play in the garden after you are dressed or you can watch your choice on TV after get ready for bed. Maybe I just need the right bribe and stickers are popular at the moment.

professionallurker Sat 31-Oct-15 14:41:20

Can you sing to him as you do it? Often works for my DS. Either a song like 5 currant buns, working your way down from 5 to 0 with people you know - his name, Mummy, Sister etc or just sing 'we're putting on your shoes, we're putting on your shoes e-i-addy-o we're putting on your shoes to the tune of the farmer's in his den. Then do it with each item of clothing...
great distraction for him.

tethersend Sat 31-Oct-15 14:58:23

The timer on my iPhone worked well for DD2- it's a race against the clock!

DorothyDove Sat 31-Oct-15 19:14:27

There are a couple of songs on YouTube if you search 'getting dressed song for kids'. They're very American but show monkeys etc putting on clothes with a catchy tune (cartoons, not PG tips style!) and it works a charm for DS!

FFTransform Sun 01-Nov-15 18:44:05

Mine is getting rather awful

I have found that offering option A or B is more successful than one item where the choice is Yes-get dressed or No-don't get dressed

kate1516 Mon 02-Nov-15 17:50:46

I have let him watch a video on youtube of wheels on the bus in exchange for getting dressed / undressed and it has helped this morning and last night so thanks for the tips. Have ordered some stickers to try too.

He is crying loads about everything but not real crying so think it's just attention seeking. Are you meant to ignore that behaviour or give him attention?

God I am crap at this parenting thing. ...nothing is simple is it

spanky2 Mon 02-Nov-15 17:58:05

It made a difference getting ds2 clothes he liked. I also told him I'd record it to show preschool as it carried on until he started big school. That made a difference, except with socks!!

Notso Mon 02-Nov-15 19:07:20

DS3 is horrendous for this. The two things he responds to at the moment are, me 'forgetting' where his clothes go so putting pants on his head etc then he has to show me where they really go.

Second thing is calling his bluff so in the mornings I will say twice it's time to get dressed if he refuses I leave it, get everything else ready and make to leave with him in whatever state of dress he is in. Generally he will get dressed though I have had to take him to school in his PJ's or with no shoes on a few times.

Picklesauage Wed 04-Nov-15 13:32:36

My DD was a big 'crier'. Although it wasn't real crying it was more of a tantrum noise. We actually started referring to it as 'air raid crying' between ourselves.
It got so bad that every time something didn't go her way or we misunderstood her she would 'cry' and end up with us both frustrated and irritated.

So we started referring to this crying as 'naughty crying' always in the context of 'you are a good girl, but this is naughty crying, mummy has said no and you are cross, but this is naughty crying'.

We also used to talk about what was real crying, when your sad, or hurt or scared its good to cry so people know.

It's really helped reduce the incidences. She will now say, 'but I wanted to', 'I am cross.'

I know it seems odd to discipline for crying, but we had to remind ourselves it wasn't crying, it was tantrumming and an attempt to control.

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