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How bad is it that ds can't dress himself and is starting school?

(35 Posts)
Stillhopingstillhere Sun 30-Jun-13 17:20:31

He's just 4.
He tries, fails, gives up and cries. He can get undressed but getting dressed seems hopeless! I am trying to keep encouraging him but sometimes now he cries before we've even attempted it.
I don't want it to become some huge bone of contention so I'm treading quite gently.

He's ok with other things, going to toilet, listening, putting hand up, finding own name and following instructions.

If it wasn't for the getting dressed thing I wouldn't be too concerned about him. Some of my friend's children who are 6 or 7 months older have only just started to dress themselves. I think ds will be able to do it in a few months time but he will be one of the younger ones when he starts school.

Should I be worried? All I can do is keep practicing really isn't it?

Fizzypop001 Sun 30-Jun-13 17:44:51

My son is 4 and is exactly the same can undress but cant put trousers etc on. I dont know what to do either is starting school this year as well

MegBusset Sun 30-Jun-13 17:50:49

DS2 can mostly get dressed but socks are a complete no-no. He is hypermobile and struggles with the necessary gripping and stretching. I am still making him practise though. At the school he's going to, they don't get changed for PE for the first few weeks so that will give him some extra time.

Can he get his coat on by himself - I think this would be a more pressing concern as he'll need to do it more often.

meditrina Sun 30-Jun-13 17:55:03

Yes, keep practicing (a few months to go, and that's a long time at that age). But gently.

As long as he can get in and out of his coat (and maybe sweatshirt), he'll be fine. Does he have a full change for PE?

RippingYarns Sun 30-Jun-13 17:55:19

hope this is of some comfort, but when DD started YR they didn't need to change for PE until after christmas - the staff recognised that it was too much of a struggle for new-starters.

They had lots of opportunity for exercise and running about without a formal PE lesson.

KingscoteStaff Sun 30-Jun-13 17:58:05

Does he have to wear uniform?

Can you get shorts with an elasticated waist and sew up the bottom button of his polo shirt? Sometimes it's the balancing on one foot that's the problem - can he sit on the floor, put his feet through his shorts and then stand up to pull them up?

Have you got a large teddy who could have problems putting his shorts on and need advice?

Give the school a ring - you may find that they don't change for PE for the first term, or possible come in wearing PE kit on PE days.

ragged Sun 30-Jun-13 18:00:00

Just keep trying. Any small improvement praise to high heavens. Shoes then shirts then trousers then socks.

Hercule Sun 30-Jun-13 18:00:47

You only need to encourage him gradually. Children start Reception with a whole range of different needs. He's only tiny still. My son is just 4 and not brilliant at it yet. Any decent school will be used to giving extra help to those that need it, particular Summer borns.

noisytoys Sun 30-Jun-13 18:08:44

DD has only just learnt to dress herself and she is coming up to the end of reception. They have helpers for PE and swimming though

insanityscratching Sun 30-Jun-13 18:14:36

An idea to try is to start at the last step and work backwards. So start with trousers (slip on ones) put them on but only pull them up to his bum. Encourage ds to pull them up to waist and clap and cheer and chocolate button if you do that. When that is firmly established you put them on but stop at knees encourage ds and clap and cheer. Slowly but surely you lessen what you do and increase what ds does but only when he's mastered the step previously. When he's mastered the trousers you do the same with the sweater. He'll get there and if you do it slowly enough he'll never feel as though he's failed either.

LindyHemming Sun 30-Jun-13 18:18:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HorryIsUpduffed Sun 30-Jun-13 18:22:11

Two months is a good long time. Perhaps practising with dressing up costumes would be less intimidating than "real" clothes.

DS1 has elasticated waists on his trousers but the front is flat. M&S. Also adjustable waist. Highly recommend.

Tops that are too big are easier to deal with. You can alter collar buttons to concealed poppers if necessary.

Seriously, though, I do think he needs to be happier about getting dressed, if not 100% confident, by September. Staff can help but they have another 29 sets of buttons to fiddle with, so he needs to have the confidence to do most of it himself.

Stillhopingstillhere Sun 30-Jun-13 18:41:36

He can get his coat on.
Buttons are hopeless though. I think his fine motor isn't great tbh and preschool made a huge fuss when he initiall couldn't get his coat on last September (so just 3) and it's really upset him - I'm useless at getting dressed mommy.

It is a full change for pe. Trousers we may have a shot with but socks - can't see it happening! Also when he dresses himself after pe doubt his clothes will be laid out neatly like they are when we attempt it at home!

nextphase Sun 30-Jun-13 18:45:50

DS1 will be starting school in September. One of the things that was commented on at parents evening half way through pre-school was they were impressed he could dress himself, so I would suspect most of them couldn't dress themselves 6 months before they went to school.
Not sure how much progress they will have made, but sounds like he will be far from the only one..
Socks - have you tried getting him to put trainer socks on? Mine seem to learn like that, and then make attempts at full socks.

missmapp Sun 30-Jun-13 18:58:39

I would agree with those who say many reception classes dont attempt a full change til a term in. My dcs just changed shoes to start, then moved to full change.

Ds1 regularly came out with his clothes inside out and back to front- he was amazed that I knew he had had PE that day!!

exoticfruits Sun 30-Jun-13 19:08:48

Keep trying. September is a long way off in the life of a small child. They often just copy everyone else and getting changed takes ages anyway.

DeWe Sun 30-Jun-13 19:09:46

Ds when he entered reception had two methods of changing for pe. One was to just put his PE kit over the top of his uniform. The other was to take absolutely everything off including pants before he put his pe kit on. grin

He came out so regularly with his shorts, jumper on backwards and his polo shirt and socks on inside out that I suspected he might be doing it on purpose.

They did change for PE from the beginning. But they were patient with them, and he was fine by year 1 (mostly!)

infin Sun 30-Jun-13 19:13:54

Just keep practising in short bursts in the way 'insanityscratching' suggests. If they do change from the word go the most important thing will be that he is willing to have a go himself.

Buy the softest 'floppiest' socks you can find as they are usually the hardest thing to manage. If polo shirts are acceptable they are much easier...leave the buttons undone every day just in case PE day changes!

There will be help, but you have 2 months to practise and he will be much happier if he feels reasonably confident of getting clothes on...then there's learning to turn them round the right way....the fun never ends!

eddiemairswife Sun 30-Jun-13 19:21:43

One of my granddaughters could dress and undress OK, but when it was her 1st PE lesson [T-shirt and PE knickers] she and her friend both took off their ordinary pants before donning the PE knickers. We still tease her about it.

BabiesAreLikeBuses Sun 30-Jun-13 19:26:47

Ds didnt get himself dressed pre reception - i suspected more because he liked mummy dressing him. At school he got himself fully changed for pe from the start because i wasnt there to do it for him. Took a while to come home with socks back on correctly but didnt want the teacher to help - he might surprise you! If not dont worry lots need help in reception.

xylem8 Sun 30-Jun-13 20:26:45

he won't need to change his socks for pe.At our school the competent children who can do it quickly are encouraged to help the ones who are struggling.

Periwinkle007 Sun 30-Jun-13 20:32:23

He has time before September and there are always going to be children still struggling with buttons, it is quite a skill to learn.

One thing that might really help is to show him how to lay his clothes out tidily when he gets undressed for PE. So to take off his shoes, put one sock inside each shoe, put his trousers on the back of the chair/table/whatever then his shirt on top of that so that when he does come back to it it is in a clearer order for him to tackle. If he can manage his trousers then do it so that his trousers end up on the top of the pile so he will feel he has achieved something and leave the shirt until afterwards as then if he has to ask for help with that he will feel that he did his trousers himself and has got his shirt ON it just needs the buttons and like others have said if children try then staff really don't mind helping. He will learn how to do the things himself probably quite quickly when he is doing it every day.

ragged Mon 01-Jul-13 07:33:10

Some schools do PE barefoot so they do have to manage socks. Socks get knocked off sometimes with shoes off/on, so not silly to make some effort.

Agree with all that many won't able to change clothes, staff are used to having to support that.

Make sure he can wipe own bottom by end of August, though, that is one thing no staff member will do!

ragged Mon 01-Jul-13 07:33:34

ps: and when they see lots of other children who can manage own clothes they become much more motivated to become self-sufficient.

sashh Mon 01-Jul-13 07:43:00


You can get a device to help with socks.

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