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toddler won't dress! help....

(21 Posts)
redheadmum Thu 05-May-05 09:06:26

my 2.5 year old is just becoming a nightmare about getting dressed and hair brushing. Then at night getting in pyjamas. I just about manage to change her nappy and then she refuses to get dressed.

I've tried distraction, humour, silly games, encouraging her to dress herself etc but it's not working. I'm now telling her off ...but this is just causing her tears, me stress ..and it starts the day off really badly. I end up feeling a terrible mum and I 'm beginning to dread the morning routine, which used to be so pleasant.
I think she's just that little bit young for stickers...any ideas?

I'm due baby 2 in a couple of months and would really like to solve this pre-birth.....

bobbybob Thu 05-May-05 09:12:22

Take her out in her nappy.

Easy Thu 05-May-05 09:19:21

Honey we have all been there, and we have all been reduced to the telling-off stage, which never works.

See if any of these help.

Offer to race with her. Can she put on her t-shirt before you have fetched a towel, made a cup of tea ... whatever

Use a star chart. She should be old enough to be getting the idea of these now.

Set the kitchen timer, and see if she can be dressed before it pings. Reward if she can.

Others will have ideas too, I'm sure. And don't be afraid to take her out in her 'jamas if she won't do it. Just don't get stressed about it.

Furball Thu 05-May-05 09:22:33

I used to say 'right, well - I'll have to go out without you then' and start to get my bag and that ready before ds came crying over to get dressed in double time. He also has been taken up to bed in just a nappy cos getting his pj's on was such a faff. Once upstairs and in bed, just before storytime I just used to comment how I hope he's not cold in the night etc before he realised that yes I was serious and he was going to bed with no pj's on and with that started to get his pj's on himself. Lovely stage this! (but it does pass)

starlover Thu 05-May-05 09:47:40

Apparently I did this when I was about the same age!
My mum gave up and made my Dad dress me. She took all of my clothes out of my room and I was given an outfit to wear so that I couldn't make a fuss over what I wantd to put on,
My dad is very no-nonsense and the clothes were put on whether I wanted them on or not.
I apparently was fine after a week or so!

muminlondon Thu 05-May-05 10:09:59

I'm having this with dd who's just over 2 - every morning I hear 'I want to do it!' but she just runs off into the corner and fiddles, not really knowing how to do it. It'll get easier when she learns the skills of dressing herself.

I try to stick to clothes she can more easily dress herself with (I never give her a choice), then just give her a time limit, then pretend I'm coming over to finish the job (sometimes she'll attempt to put a top over her head at this point), then pretend to 'share' the job with her, or leave DH to finish it off, or just distract her with something else. Stickers wouldn't work at this age, she's too young - unless you use them to distract her.

Twiglett Thu 05-May-05 10:20:04

have you tried sitting her on your knee, tipping her over backwards so she is lying down behind you and forcing her legs into trousers

a few days (couple of weeks) of showing her she doesn't have a choice over it, and not rising to the attention-seeking through cajoling, shouting, getting wound up will probably nip it in the bud

it takes a fair bit of strength with a 2 year old though .. but they do all do it

Fran1 Thu 05-May-05 10:35:49

I think this is a common phase,when they realise they can do it themselves and like to be independent.

I tell my dd she can do it herself, if she doesn't start getting dressed by the time i count to three then i'm doing it for her, she nearly always gives in!

I use the count to three method with most things, it took a while for her to realise i mean business but now i just get as far as 2 she'll give in and do as she's told.

When i first started using it, i would just be very forceful and get her dressed if she hadn't agreed by no.3! or she sits on the naughty step.

MrsWood Thu 05-May-05 11:35:04

Try doing it when she's busy watching Teletubbies on TV or PC - always works with my wriggler

Aragon Thu 05-May-05 12:02:06

Mine does this too. Thinks it's great fun to run off when I get the clothes out. Then he circles round me ..... just out of reach. Grrrrr! Just telling myself it's a phase.

redheadmum Thu 05-May-05 12:35:24

because I'm pregnant (31 weeks now) I can't run round after her, my little dear also runs off and hides under the bed where she knows I can't get her....

glad to see I"m not alone!!!!

hermykne Thu 05-May-05 12:45:36

do you have to get her dressed so u can go to work or her to a creche, if not why dont you avoid the issue for a day or two, leave her in her pj's and nappy and maybe she'll come to you and say weewee leaked and can i wear my X dress,

my dd is 2+7 and coming outof this ,sort of, has her favourite clothes, that shewants to wear all the time.

mummylonglegs Thu 05-May-05 14:49:06


We've got this too with dd, same age as you know! I'm opting for a similar approach to Furball, i.e. just not entertaining the possibility of her not getting dressed. All attention is good attention for a toddler and any little power battle they can win is a good one too. At bedtime I sigh and tell her I'm counting to 5 and if she doesn't come and get ready she'll have to go to bed naked with no story. She's usually over by the time I get to 2. (Dread to think what I'll do when she calls my bluff some time soon though! ). In the morning I sit on the sofa with her clothes next to me and open the paper and refuse to budge to do anything at all until she's come to get dressed. No breakfast, no conversation, etc. I'd rather not have to do it but I'm not going to chase her around and I'd rather not have to shout at her. I just act bored. Then she seems to get bored too and says 'oh, alright then' (in my voice ).

It's a tricky one, no-one wants to start or end the day with a battle, but it does need to be stopped, I think, as an option because how the hell are we gonna get them out to pre-school etc. in a year or so if getting dressed isn't just a necessary part of the morning?

mummylonglegs Thu 05-May-05 14:51:26

By the way, is your dd interested in what she wears? Mine isn't at all. She's mad on chosing shoes and coats but the rest of it she couldn't give two hoots. Except that she hates skirts!

halcat Thu 05-May-05 15:53:16

redheadmum, I feel like I've just read my own story here! I too am v pregnant (34 weeks) and spend too long every morning/evening rolling round trying to get my DD dressed.

She has some bodysuits with a little picture on so I can sometimes distract her with "Who's on your bodysuit today?", otherwise counting to 3 and threatening to go without her are all that I've managed to make work... but I love some of the ideas I've seen here, especially the egg timer so will be trying them out myself.

muminlondon Thu 05-May-05 16:18:18

All girls here so far...

bobbybob Thu 05-May-05 20:06:54

My friends girl won't wear anything with buttons.

Furball Fri 06-May-05 07:23:19

muminlondon - I've got a boy!

redheadmum Fri 06-May-05 16:39:16

thanks for all the suggestions

I decided that I had already tried most of the 'soft ' options and that she just needed a boundar;y; in place about dressing (etc!!!!)

last night just got her in her pyjamas by putting her in the cot and firmly saying that she had to get in them. This seemed to work, and have done the same this morning. Will keep being firm until the message gets through!

keep me posted as to how you're getting on fellow toddler survivors!

mummylonglegs Fri 06-May-05 21:05:10

hi again

I think you're right to go for no-fun, no anger, firmness. It seems to be the only way to win long-term battles I think.

This morning we got round the dressing thing by her deciding she wanted to have breakfast wearing her fairy dancing dress which she put on by herself (semi-reasonably). Then when it was time to go out she said she didn't want to get it dirty and she'd better put on her 'proper clothes.' It's a one-off though. And generally I'm sticking with the method I described earlier.

Any ideas about my 'bedtime procrastination' thread on the sleep board? It's driving me nuts. Even now I'm writing while dd lies in the cot saying 'mummy needs to come and tell me all about what we're doing tomorrow' etc. etc.

Sigh ...

Orinoco Fri 06-May-05 21:20:55

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