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will it matter if my DS can't dress himself when he starts school

(48 Posts)
Ohnonotagen Wed 23-Apr-14 08:04:43

DS is 4 next month and starts school Sept so towards the younger end but not the youngest.

He's always struggled with dressing/ undressing himself and he is the type of child that its really difficult to get him to try and do stuff until he wants to (as example he didn't potty train until 3.3 and then was dry within 3 days!). He can now take off shoes, trousers, pants, socks, coats, cardigans etc. He struggles taking off tops he has to pull over his head unless i help him. He can't really dress himself at all. We've been working on coats/ jackets as i was thinking thats perhaps the most important but i'm not confident he'll be proficient at this by the time he starts school. How much will this matter? Will he be the only one? The school he is going to is quite big and has three classes that they split by age so he'll most likely be in the youngest age group class.

CharlesRyder Wed 23-Apr-14 08:16:04

Maybe ask the school if they expect the Reception children to change themselves for PE?

At the school my DS is going to in September they change for PE every day from the start. He is August born and getting dressed is a new thing. I am pushing him to do all of his clothing himself because I don't want him to struggle with changing in school. I think he might be upset by it.

I am having to be a bit mean because he doesn't really want to dress himself but I am persevering and thinking of it as being cruel to be kind! I don't let him watch TV in the morning, for example, until he has dressed. There is not much you can do if your DS is very resistant, but if he is going to have to change clothes a lot at school I would try to teach him.

Galena Wed 23-Apr-14 09:31:37

Generally adults in a reception class are happy to help if a chold gets stuck, but won't do it all if a child refuses even to try. I suggest that over the next few months you get him to dress himself as much as possible if you can - either going cold turkey, or doing most of each item and getting him to finish, and gradually helping less (for example, put his top on and help with one arm - ask him to do other arm. Once proficient at that, put top on and ask him to do both arms. Then hand him top ready to put over head, then just hand him top). Use a reward chart if that would work for him.

But don't panic - 6 months is a long time to a 3 year old - plenty of time to learn if you are proactive.

sassysally Wed 23-Apr-14 09:43:40

They often get the more capable children to help the less capable children change.That usually gives them the kick up the backside they need!!

TeenAndTween Wed 23-Apr-14 09:44:06

Yes it will matter as soon as they change for PE.
Also shoes on and off before that.

I agree with galena start an item get him to finish. e.g. you hold his pants for him, he steps in. Then he pulls them up.

Star charts, or racing, or counts for each item might help. But you do have a few months to go so you have plenty of time.

Buy loose fitting shirt and trousers with elasticated waists.
And definitely Velcro shoes.

Morgause Wed 23-Apr-14 09:46:22

Most schools expect children to be able to dress and undress themselves with a little assistance for shoes and laces. Imagine an entire class who can't dress themselves!

He will need to be able to manage most of it by himself.

BuzzardBird Wed 23-Apr-14 09:51:23

I think you are being a little premature. September is a long way off yet in terms of his development. I bet by September he can do these things. Can
he hold a pen and take himself to the toilet? Those are the things that (according to the press) teachers are worried about.

CocktailQueen Wed 23-Apr-14 09:51:49

Yes, they will expect them to dress and undress for PE right from the start, plus take coats on and off, hats and gloves in winter. shoes etc. I'd get practising! Star chart? Also, buy school uniform that is easy to take on and off - velcro shoes, elasticated waist trousers etc.

Flexiblefriend Wed 23-Apr-14 09:52:55

I wouldn't worry too much, its still a long time in the life of a 4 year old until September. From what you've said about him, I suspect even if he hasn't got the hang of it when school starts, he will get there pretty quickly when he sees all his friends doing it. Of course it is easier for the teachers if all the children can dress themselves, but there will be a few in each reception class that can't, and I am sure the teachers won't just leave them sobbing and half dressed! I'd just keep doing what you are doing. DD only mastered doing up her coat herself late in reception. She is one of the oldest in her class, and it has never been mentioned as an issue.

3DcAndMe Wed 23-Apr-14 09:54:19

It was a big issue for us when ds2 also one of youngest in year couldn't zip his coat up at school

We were spoken to about it lots and it was set as homework

He could fully dress himself just not zip coat

They will give some help at our school but are also clear on the fact your child does need to learn to do things themselves

HappydaysArehere Wed 23-Apr-14 09:56:30

As a retired primary school teacher who had a nursery or reception class every three years as we saw the children through to junior school, we encountered every level of dressing ability. The almost daily requirement for the "hall time" which always involved undressing etc. was demanding on a teacher on her own with thirty odd children. However, independence was gradually gained and these days the classrooms are full of adult helpers. The main problem was unlabelled clothing and the first thing I was concerned to teach was the placing of each child's belongings on "his chair". Don't worry, encourage and when he gets to school he will want to do the same as the other children. Children change rapidly and your worries are unnecessary. Another thought. It is helpful if you provide him with slip on shoes or plimsoles and clothes easy to get into and out of.

threepiecesuite Wed 23-Apr-14 09:57:26

My dd is 4.2 and can zip up coat, put on shoes, take off all clothes except tops and put on loose pyjamas.
I'm not too worried, she'll get there - Sept is a long way off.

kelda Wed 23-Apr-14 09:57:59

It's been very hard getting ds aged five to learn to dress himself. He has dyspraxia. The advice we were given, was opposite to what we had been doing.

Until then, we would get ds to get dressed as far as possible himself, helping him when he struggled. The therapist told us to help him at the start, and let him do the very end bit.

eg. putting socks on - I do the difficult part - I put the sock over his foot, ds pulls it up, and ds gets encouragment for finishing the job.

eg. putting t-shirt on - I would put it over his head (the hardest part) and he would pull it down. Gradually ds would do more and more, working from the end.

The theory is, that by completing the job himself, he recieves encouragement, rather then letting him struggle from the start and then taking over, and gradually learns how to do it right from the start.

Nocomet Wed 23-Apr-14 10:04:01

Seeing other children the 'same' age as you can do things is a huge incentive.

DD1 hardly ever bothered with a potty or a trainer seat. She saw her best friends jump on and off the loo and just copied them (best friends are actually a year older, but that's never really registered).

Honestly if your not there and the other DCs are just getting on with it, he'll copy them. Honestly don't make a big thing of it, it's likely to cause trouble rather than help.

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 23-Apr-14 12:36:53

he won't be the only one HOWEVER they do need to learn to do it and schools generally will only help in Reception - once in Yr1 they are expected to just do it so effectively he has another yearish to perfect it all but they will expect him to do some of it.

So look at which bits are achievable. Can he do his shoes? get them on the right feet and do them up on his own.

coat is important as they will need to do this every playtime. Could you stitch some velcro on to it so that if he can't do the zip/buttons himself he could just stick the velcro up and go? can he hang it on a hook as that is another thing they are expected to do themselves.

then you move on to the uniform/PE thing. PE kit presumably is shorts and t-shirt. so shorts I assume he will be ok with, doesn't matter normally with PE shorts if they are the right way round or not and elasticated waist makes them straightforward as nothing to do up. does the PE top has an identifiable front feature, so a polo shirt teach him to lay it down on the table in front of him with the front down then he can kind of crawl into it, if it is a t-shirt does it have the logo on the front for him to identify it that way?

putting uniform back on again. do you have optional bits? so can he wear a poloshirt rather than a shirt? fewer buttons. they aren't expected to do the top buttons, in fact my yr1 daughter was the only one who could do hers last year I was told an is one of only a few this year. if he can't put his jumper/sweatshirt/cardigan back on afterwards then this may not be a problem as the classrooms are normally fairly tropical. trousers - I would shop around for the easiest ones for him, elasticated waist if possible as just pull on.

It really isn't unusual to struggle with it to start with but encouraging him to do SOME of his own clothes in the morning between now and then (remember you have months yet) will help with his confidence, LOTS of praise for effort. show him how to lay his clothes out and also when he takes them off things like putting socks one inside each shoe can really help them when they then try to put it all back on (plus the teachers will think he is very organised and sensible) girls in reception seriously struggle with tights, in fact that goes on for years for some girls and lots will ask to wear trousers on PE day for that reason. As has been said - staff are more than happy to help at this age and they expect to help but they will be more willing if the child is sensible and tries to do it themselves rather than expects it done for them.

TeenAndTween Wed 23-Apr-14 12:53:38

girls in reception seriously struggle with tights, in fact that goes on for years for some girls and lots will ask to wear trousers on PE day for that reason
DD1 is in yr10 (age 14) and still wears trousers on PE days. grin

Edenviolet Wed 23-Apr-14 12:55:53

I will be going in to help dd2 get changed for pe when she starts school until she can do it herself properly and the school seem ok about it.

MrsRuffdiamond Wed 23-Apr-14 13:07:39

If the worst comes to the worst, and he is struggling with clothing, I'm certain he won't be abandoned by the teacher or TA!

I have a friend who teaches in reception, and the only observation she makes about having to assist children getting changed (and toileting as well in some cases, btw!) is in connection with children having to start school when they're not really ready (i.e. at 4 yrs old), not at the children not being able to do certain things.

rowna Wed 23-Apr-14 13:13:48

I don't think it matters too much. They help them out a bit. Our school always had dc coming home with tops on back to front and trousers inside out after PE. Mine couldn't do buttons up until she was 8. (Late potty trainer too interestingly - then dry in 3 days). I tried to make it easier by buying things with zips where possible or leaving them undone on her polo shirt on PE days. Mine quite often came home with her PE shorts on under her skirt. He won't be the only one.

Ohnonotagen Wed 23-Apr-14 13:38:52

thanks for the comments, seems to vary between schools so will have a word when for go for the meeting. He's at the nursery (pre school) that is part of the school family and they haven't brought it up so hopefully its not a major problem altho i did mention it myself when speaking to the teacher and she gave me a tip for coats about getting them to put the hood on their head so the arms were in the right place.

Thinking about it this time last year i was worried he wasn't going to be potty trained for when he started pre school in the sept (and even had visions of him not being potty trained for school) but then he just did it.

think comments about copying other children are right, when DS started pre school he only been potty trained a few weeks so still needed help going to the loo but within a few days of being at pre school he started going by himself. He is ok with getting his trousers/ pants up and down for going to the loo on his own so suppose thats something, altho i do tend to put him in trousers/ jeans with elasticated waistband for pre school. (do they do school trousers with elasticated waistband.

School uniform at his school is basic grey school trousers, polo shirt, school sweat shirt and then you can also by a fleece that zips up

sassysally Wed 23-Apr-14 14:57:28

when he starts in September, it will probably still be 'short trousers' weather so that might be easier for him.

Ohnonotagen Wed 23-Apr-14 16:43:57

sassy funny i just said exactly that to my mum, it will soon be shorts weather so should be easier for him to get the hang of

JonesRipley Wed 23-Apr-14 17:57:28

Just keep going, and make the clothes as easy for him as possible.

My pet hate is parents who put their DCs in laceup shoes when they can't tie laces.

Fuzzymum1 Wed 23-Apr-14 18:11:06

In the reception class I work in they don't change for PE until after October half term. Putting on coats is definitely more important in my experience - changing for PE happens twice a week. Putting on a coat happens 3-4 times a day most of the time (morning playtime, lunchtime, afternoon playtime and often some time in the outdoor area)

TimeForAnotherNameChange Wed 23-Apr-14 18:18:49

First term PE in reception is known as the 'learning how to get dressed and undressed' lesson in our school. So many of the children cant do it by themselves that a one hour slot turns into 20 mins getting undressed, 20 mins PE, 20 mins getting dressed. The TA and teacher are on hand to help out those who're really struggling. On PE days I always left their polo shirt buttons undone under their jumpers, which is a big help. Also don't be surprised if you spend a lot of that first term sending other children's clothes back in the day after PE day - they always come back with something that isn't their own!

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