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Help me stop losing my temper with DS when it comes to getting dressed

(35 Posts)
CristinadellaPizza Wed 05-Oct-11 09:19:07

He is perfectly capable of dressing himself (he's 4.5) but doesn't like doing it. So he will roll around on the sofa, suddenly develop a fascination with a piece of thread/a book/his fingernails, stare into space and the minutes tick by.

It's not just about going to school either, it's any time we're going out (unless we are doing something especially fun in which case he will be ready like lightning).

It takes him 20-30 mins on average, with me cajoling/reasoning/pleading/shouting the entire time. I have tried leaving him to it but then he just sits there.

Whatever tactic I use, it really, really winds me up. Today I got particularly frustrated and told him that if he didn't start dressing in the next five minutes there would be no telly at all today and he still just sat there, so I told him that he was driving me bonkers and that there wasn't going to be any telly and went upstairs to get dressed myself.

When I came down, he was wearing his pyjama top and his pants, clutching his school clothes and trying to open the front door, sobbing, saying he was going to go and live somewhere else sad sad sad

I felt terrible but it really does drive me to distraction and I don't want to have to end up dressing him which is what happens 9 times out of 10 because otherwise we'll be late for school.

Should I just dress him and assume that he'll get better at is as time goes by? I'm worried about him changing for PE which is why I've become so draconian about it of late but perhaps he'll be better at school? Help please! Mornings have become horrible and stressful

St1ggy Wed 05-Oct-11 09:22:57

No words of advice but I can understand how you feel. My DS 6.5 is doing similar to me.

Watching thread to see what others suggest!

Maryz Wed 05-Oct-11 09:27:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

An0therName Wed 05-Oct-11 09:31:44

Hmm - very common indeed especially with boys --
if he can do it then don't worry about PE - my DS1 school they didn't get changed for PE anyway the first term

what your routine - we have down for breakfast - then some reading then getting dressed but we are up early. No telly until dressed.
you could get him dressed when he gets up maybe to get it over with?
I would be inclinded to stand over him - going put your pants on , put your trousers on, put your top on , or we did races sometimes - who can dressed first? Reward charts might be another idea?
but its not the end of the world if you say for the next month you will dress him and then revisit it -

AMumInScotland Wed 05-Oct-11 09:33:07

Don't dress him. Tell him he needs to be ready in 10 minutes then you're going out. Take him to school in his pyjamas, and throw his uniform into a bag if he's not put it on yet.

I'll bet he doesn't do it many times after that.....

(You could warn his teacher in advance that you're going to do this if you want to avoid a startled expression when you send him in...)

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 05-Oct-11 09:36:12

I think we went for a team approach to dressing. He put on pants, I helped with trousers, he put on shirt, I helped with socks... etc. He managed fine at school for PE or swimming lessons & did it all himself eventually but I think he just liked the ritual of me helping in the morning more than anything. Even now, grand old age of 11, my little weirdo likes help with getting dried after a bath. I know he does it for himself because he goes off on school holidays and scout camps by himself and comes back clean (and dry).

Maryz Wed 05-Oct-11 09:38:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CristinadellaPizza Wed 05-Oct-11 09:38:33

So glad I'm not alone and thanks for reassurance re PE.

Routine is breakfast, teeth, get dressed, telly (depending on if there's time after he's got dressed). To be honest, we do have plenty of time - we get up around 7.30 and don't leave the house until 8.45 but I find it immensely irritating to spend most of that time supervising dressing.

The pyjamas thing is the way to go I think. I doubt he'd even go as far as the door in his PJs! I shall do that tomorrow. I will be calm and just tell him that I'll take him in wearing them if he doesn't dress.

St1ggy Wed 05-Oct-11 09:38:58

I've done the take him to school in pjs twice now!

Maryz Wed 05-Oct-11 09:40:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CristinadellaPizza Wed 05-Oct-11 09:43:51

Would I not give him the chance to dress once we get to the front door? I could take him in the car (although that would actually take longer to get there than walking would grin)

Alouiseg Wed 05-Oct-11 09:50:31

Mine used to do that, then I changed the routine and they had a bath in the morning before school. I ran the bath before they woke up and they really enjoyed splashing around in warm water before school. Of course pyjamas were off and clothes had to be put on. By the age of 7 they were happy to shower in the morning by themselves. it wakes them up, gets them into a good habit, the amount of teenagers who appear at school unshowered is quite alarming.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Wed 05-Oct-11 09:51:21

can you do breakfast after getting dressed? I think that's the only thing that motivates dd1 - got to be dressed right down to her shoes before breakfast. it means i can rush other parts of the morning routine if she's taken ages - like just chucking fruit at her instead of making toast/porridge. and she gets a sticker if she only has to be asked once to get dressed.

CristinadellaPizza Wed 05-Oct-11 10:06:37

I thought of doing that Charlotte but DS is a very messy eater and he usually ends up with milk all down his front which is why dressing comes afterwards. But I could try switching it round.

I will talk to him about it when he's back from school. I could bath him alouise but I think that would just add to the stress tbh grin

Notanexcitingname Wed 05-Oct-11 11:11:34

I have similar with ds1; he doens;t like it becaus ehe knows he can;t do it. Not ohysically, he can't stay focussed. I tried threats, school in pyjamas, cajoling, yelling blush. Eventually I decided that it was a blockage he has and now I support him to stay focussed. So I get his clothes out and talk him through it. So much less stressed than the leaving him/threatening approach, and at 5.6 it don't have to say more than a reminder if he gets clothes mixed up. I suspect by this time next year I'll be able to leave him to it. (PE always been OK confused)

Of course it helps that ds2, at 2.5 can dress completely independently!

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 05-Oct-11 12:30:44

@Maryz... I kid you not. Told you he was a weirdo. I really do have a DS that doesn't like mess and dirt and who is a dab hand with a hairdryer. We're wondering if he'll end up gay, or in politics or something...

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Wed 05-Oct-11 12:38:16

When ds was that little I had the same problem.

I can't believe I didn't work this out for myself (a friend suggested it to me as it worked for her) but basically he wasn't allowed downstairs until he was dressed.

Knowing he'd miss Scooby Doo or whatever if he didn't pull his finger out did the trick.

marzipananimal Wed 05-Oct-11 12:39:39

sounds stressful. Can you turn it into a game? Time him with a stopwatch and then next day see if he can break his record?

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Wed 05-Oct-11 12:40:36

wrt to messy eating - he could have breakfast in his vest as long as he has everything else on. And if it's too cold for that, turn a blind eye to a bit of grub (you can always sponge it off before you leave the house).

Bramshott Wed 05-Oct-11 12:44:09

I'm afraid I dress DD2 (4.5) in the week. Mornings are already stressful enough without picking a fight I can avoid!

CharlotteBronteSaurus Wed 05-Oct-11 12:52:12

dd1 is a messy eater. we leave the jumper off, and she drapes a tea towel over her as well. even allowing for a quick sponge down it still seems to be quicker doing it that way round.

Fennel Wed 05-Oct-11 13:58:28

When dd1 was 4 I had 2 younger ones so no time to pander, I'd put her out in the back garden/porch with her clothes and only let her back in when dressed.

Sounds harsh but it worked and meanwhile I got the baby and toddler sorted.

Once we went to school with her still in pyjamas, and she got dressed in the street. I guess that was effective as we never had to do it again.

cece Wed 05-Oct-11 13:59:54

I haven't read any of your other replies OP but tbh I would just take him to school in his PJs. smile

I only had to do it once to my dd. Amazing how well she got dressed after that grin

cece Wed 05-Oct-11 14:00:51

Or do as my cousin's wife used to do and put him to bed already dressed for the morning... hmm

MRSJWRTWR Wed 05-Oct-11 14:19:25

With DS2 (5yrs) I do a combined approach - he does the bottom half, pants, trousers, socks while I'm upstairs getting ready and then I help him with his shirt and tie when I get downstairs. It works for us (and I get a quick cuddle in too!).

I also know that he is quite capable of doing it himself. However, I only have him to sort out by this time as DS1 (12yrs) has already gone out. He of course is dressing himself by now, just needs constant chivvying.

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