Learning to dress marks an important milestone in a child’s life, heralding not only increased independence, but also a definitive jump in motor abilities and understanding the logic of things. However, the learning process can turn out to be a long and painstaking one. Actually, a kid of 4 or 5 can manage dressing without a good deal of bother, given his or her parents are ready to assist and employ a few simple hints to ease the process along.
The biggest problem is that the dressing time comes in the morning which is probably the most hectic time when everybody is rushing about. The temptation is great to save time and trouble and just dress the preschooler yourself. While it is ok on several occasions when you really have to hurry, you’d do well to reorganize your mornings and set aside the time needed for teaching your child to dress.
You will certainly need some extra time, so the first thing is to get up a bit earlier than usual: if you’re set on teaching, neither you nor your preschooler wants to tackle it in a hurry. Get ready to offer any assistance necessary without losing your patience and doing too much to help.
Let your kid dress in any order he or she prefers to, offering corrections only to avoid total confusion. As far as the kid gets along fine, things are all right, and order in dressing can be achieved later effortlessly.
To make the learning process quicker and help the child gain the necessary experience, find time during the day when he or she can put in some practice just for practice’s sake, at the same time imprinting in them the idea that the ability to dress is a desirable goal.
Take a little time to go through your kid’s clothes. Are they rather difficult to put on, with a lot of zippers, buttons and snaps that need extra pressure and precision? If so, consider getting other clothes like loose sweatshirts for a boy and dresses with a larger neck hole and armholes for a girl. Go for trousers or skirts fitted with elastic waistbands. When buying socks, pick ones with easily recognizable heels so your kid won’t need to stop and think how to put it on.
It’s not a bad idea to buy clothes of a slightly larger size that can be gotten on with a deal less trouble – moreover, as your child will be growing into them his or her skills will be developing too. Or you can make the child put on your own pieces of clothing thus making the practice smoother – the little learner may be able to handle your clothes without any outside help.
If the preschooler does not take to dressing and undressing happily, try and make him or her more interested by letting them choose the items they would like to wear. Once the kid has gotten involved in the process of buying clothes for himself, his attitude to dressing will also undergo changes. Although you run some risk of your child’s coming up with obviously unsuitable combinations, it will make a good start for taste development and a better understanding of clothes in general.
To prevent the young ones from snatching randomly at anything that may catch their fancy you can suggest they choose between two combinations that you have put together for them. The preschoolers will be learning to compare pieces of clothing as well as end up with a feeling that the decision rests with them. When you are choosing outfits to be submitted for the kid’s decision, take care to get items that can go well with their other clothes, to make the task of combining outfits both more variable and creative.
Tying shoes can be a veritable stumbling block in the process. Naturally, you can ease up on it by purchasing Velcro shoes, but it will be only a temporary measure, and you will be getting round to business soon notwithstanding. Be patient and ready to tackle it in stages.
You may need to make the process more playful to achieve a better understanding; it can be done by utilizing the bunny ears tying up method. Have the kid to arrange shoelaces in the shape of bunny ears. The second step will be to tie a knot that will form “the rabbit’s head.” The “ears” are crossed over into an X, then one “ear” is made to pass under the X and up and pulled. This kind of explanation will be more readily understood by some kinds of children.
Mind that shoes don’t have to be on feet – it may be a simpler way to teach the preschooler to tie up shoes that lie on their laps. There are toys fitted with small shoelaces, or special manuals for children with shoes and laces included for practice. Use all these ways to get the kid to achieve perfection in a shorter time.
The thing to bear in mind through the teaching period is never to lose patience. In many cases it’s next to useless to try and drive your kid hard into acquiring the habits, for it may lead to an eventual confusion. On the other hand, if you are primed to advise and assist repeatedly, the little man or woman can get the hang of it fairly quickly, and you may find yourself to be past this period sooner than you had counted on!