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2.5 yo having massive tantrums about getting dressed

(26 Posts)
elibumbum Mon 08-Sep-08 13:31:37

DS has had the odd occasion over the last few months of not wanting a nappy change or to put his trousers or top on but in the last week it has been every day! And not just refusing but having massive tantrums!

Any tips on getting him to cooperate or at least not have a major melt down?

MatNanPlus Mon 08-Sep-08 13:45:23

get him involved : choosing the nappy by offering 2 with different pictures, the place, the toy, letting him pull out / pass the wipes.

For the clothes, i find this can help greatly, i offer 2 tops then when one is choosen and put on, i offer 2 bottoms that go and when choosen and put on, then socks.

elibumbum Mon 08-Sep-08 14:35:26

Thanks for your reply. We have tried that and it has worked sometimes but not in the last week. If he actually chooses one he still has a tantrum when we put it on or he says no to both choices!

boogeek Mon 08-Sep-08 14:38:54

I don't have much to say but send sympathies as my DD is doing exactly the same - the only time she got dressed without a fuss last week was when she chose what she wanted to wear (a pink smocked party frock, sigh. She's not yet 2. The other thing thatworks for us is having daddy dress her because Daddy Is Best.

mankymummy Mon 08-Sep-08 14:44:37


get the clothes. say..."oooooh DS, you'll never guess what...."

start putting clothes on. "guess what i saw yesterday...."

keep putting on clothes and coming up with more and more ridiculous suggestions of what you saw until child is dressed.

then repeat above steps after child has taken their clothes and nappy off again when your back is turned !!!! wink

elibumbum Mon 08-Sep-08 14:47:42

It is a PITA isn't it!

Have tried getting DH to do it but DS has the same reaction with him too. This morning I got DH to change DS's nappy and try and put his trousers on before he was awake. Thought if we do this for a few days it might take the stress out of it for DS and break the habit. It worked with the nappy but we still had a bit of trouble with the trousers.

suiledonn Mon 08-Sep-08 14:49:52

My dd is 2.3 and is the very same. She just does not want to get dressed and when I finally get clothes on her she takes them off the first chance she gets. She has lots of good reasons too. She tells me those pants are too tight/pink/blue etc etc. She won't potty train yet but takes off her nappy now and says 'this nappy is soaking wet'. If I wasn't 7 months pregnant I might find it rather amusing but my patience is running out.

elibumbum Mon 08-Sep-08 14:52:28

Have tried distraction. He is so wound up by getting dressed in the last week that the tantrum starts as soon as he sees his clothes or I say time to get dressed!

We tried the choosing what to wear and putting them out the night before last night. He got in a strop and put them back in his chest of drawers!

Distraction works after we get the clothes on though. If we distract him long enough he calms down and doesn't try and take them off.

bodiddly Mon 08-Sep-08 14:58:13

my ds went through a period of doing this .. in the end we gave him a sticker chart and each morning he had to get dressed nicely, brush his teeth, his hair and put his shoes on and go to the toilet etc before he got the sticker and obviously a treat after a few stickers! it works a treat ... although the promise of a chocolate button used to work too when he was a little younger. That and distraction with something he doesn't usually get to look through whilst you quickly dress him .. like your jewellery box!

Flibbertyjibbet Mon 08-Sep-08 15:00:12

I lay out clothes for my two the night before.
Since ds1 was 2 I've had to let him choose what he lays out, and now ds2 chooses his own as well.
Yes they will wear the same tshirt 500 days in a row if you let them....

Hmm just read your last post that you already lay out clothes the night before. So howabout...

Sometimes ds2 has his breakfast in his pants and vest, he calms down a lot after eating and then I finish off dressing him as ds1 puts his coat on.

PoorOldEnid Mon 08-Sep-08 15:01:34

fi they are fussing over nappies take it as a sign tht they are ready to potty train

elibumbum Mon 08-Sep-08 15:02:31

I'm pg too suiledonn and the hormones aren't helping! I do make a point of keeping calm but it takes all my reserves of patience at the moment!

I think DS is ready to potty train as if he doesn't have anything on from the waist down he uses the potty unprompted. I feel we can't progress this until his dressing 'issues' are resolved because he would need to be taking his trousers on and off a lot when training properly.

He is generally quite negative in other areas at the moment too - like not wanting to get into his car seat then not wanting to get out of it at the other end! I'm thinking he is testing boundaries and asserting himself. Hope the phase doesn't last too long!

fourlittlefeet Mon 08-Sep-08 15:03:53

have you tried dressing a doll/toy at the same time?

elibumbum Mon 08-Sep-08 15:11:43

Bodiddly - how old was your ds when the sticker chart worked?

Flibberty - I've had a relaxed routine with him in the mornings - we would come downstairs in pjs and have breakfast. After breakfast he would play with his toys and watch a bit of cbeebies. I would shower and get dressed while he was doing this then get him dressed. We thought that more structured routine of getting him dressed as soon as he was up might help with the tantrums. We are only on the 4th day of the structured routine so too early to tell if it is working.

Pooroldenid - I think he is ready to potty train but I don't see how I could do it if he won't co-operate with putting his trousers back on.

Flibbertyjibbet Mon 08-Sep-08 15:14:23

We all have to get out for work and nursery most mornings so we have to have a strict routine - up dressed breakfast out.
On days we are at home if I let them stay in pyjamas at all they are really tantrummy when I want them dressed. So we just do up dressed breakfast 7 days a week.

elibumbum Mon 08-Sep-08 15:14:34

Haven't tried dressing a toy at the same time yet fourlittlefeet. Will try that.

I would like to teach him to dress himself as I think this would help too but again I can't see how to do that while he is going through this phase!

fourlittlefeet Mon 08-Sep-08 15:18:56

maybe also those books on getting dressed routines (if hes a bookish young lad). My DD is only 16 months but usually the tantrums are avoided if she sees it in a book or the toy does it first.

elibumbum Mon 08-Sep-08 15:19:24

Yes. I thought that might be the problem flibberty so that is why we have introduced the new routine.

Not having to be anywhere in particular early in the morning over the summer probably didn't help. Term has started now so 3-4 days per week he is going to have to be dressed by a particular time.

And at the very least dressing him before breakfast gives him time to calm down before we leave the house (although this morning he screamed about having his shoes on which he'd never had a problem with before!)

elibumbum Mon 08-Sep-08 15:21:41

He as a great book called 'Buster gets dressed'. On the first morning of the new routine I read that to him before I said time to get dressed before we go down for breakfast. He enjoyed the book but it didn't avoid the tantrum!

elibumbum Mon 08-Sep-08 16:03:24

Just tried putting trousers on teddy when DS woke from his nap. It worked a treat initially as he said 'my trousers' then put them on! Unfortunately, he just spilt a some water on them and had a massive tantrum when I got some dry ones for him to put on!

elibumbum Mon 08-Sep-08 16:59:18

Teddy came to the rescue again after DS had calmed down from his tantrum! Don't know how long this will work for but hope it lasts long enough to break the habit/reduce the stress around getting dressed! smile

fourlittlefeet Mon 08-Sep-08 19:23:56

thats fab news! congratulations smile

bodiddly Mon 08-Sep-08 20:07:12

ds was probably about 3 when we did the sticker chart but we did a chocolate button or something similar from about your ds' age. It is only a phase but is a nightmare whilst it lasts!

ontheup Mon 08-Sep-08 20:29:11

DS is 2.5 and I find distraction works most times eg 'SO waht did you do at nursery today...did you do painting? Did you paint a sausage? A dog? A......... and so on. Like the idea of a doll though as I would like him to get better at dressing himself (a bit)

elibumbum Tue 09-Sep-08 08:45:25

Thanks for all your replies. Teddy worked again this morning. But also letting him sit on his nappy then do it up for him - so that he thought he was putting it on himself. He normally wears cloth nappies at home but disposables at preschool so plan to get some pull ups today!

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