Involving fine motor and practical life skills, dressing is a big step for young children. The ability to dress oneself fosters independence and helps develop self-esteem. Who knew you could get all that good stuff from putting a sock on?
As you can imagine, however, dressing provide challenges. For example, my two year old races in the other direction even if I can manage to (help him) get his pajamas off and get a clean diaper on. So we came to a â€œmiddle groundâ€ and implemented the â€œWhat Iâ€™m Going to Wear Todayâ€ Dressing Basket, a creation driven by two facts: 1) Like many two year olds, my child would rather run around naked or stay in his pajamas all day than get dressed, and 2) although my sonâ€™s dresser is within reaching height for him, opening and closing the drawers gently and softly has proven to be a challenge. Â Weâ€™ll get to that Practical Life lesson.
Location: I place neatly next to his dresser in his bedroom.
Whatâ€™s Included: Include the basics: a shirt, a pair of pants or shorts, socks if necessary and a diaper. You might want to include a sweatshirt or something extra your child might need for the day. Â Ideally this basket goes under or near a low coat rack (weâ€™re in the process of purchasing one).
How We Do It: At this point, I place these items in the basket. The next step in the process to independent dressing is to have him fill the basket and then ultimately remove the basket (if it makes sense for him). We always start the dressing process with our son at least attempting to remove his clothes. Then we gently guide him to successfully getting out of his clothing. Usually this guidance involves helping a shirt over an elbow, or providing a shoulder to lean on so he can step out of his clothes.
The results so far have shown that he relishes the independence. When I say that we are going to change out of our pajamas, he doesnâ€™t fight me (sometimes I have to remind him of the dressing basket), and runs excitedly to his dressing basket to grab his clothes for the day.
The beautiful part is seeing your childâ€™s face light up in the â€œI did it!â€ way when you can see the self-esteem building in his body. Sounds strange to say but I enjoy this moment even more after there has been a bit of frustration, a point when he truly learned to â€œdo it all by himselfâ€ and gained confidence that will help him through his entire life. Seems like such a small and simple way to help develop such profound life skills, right? Â I love every minute of it.
Here is a link to a great post about independence an getting dressed!
Thanks for reading!