Before the 18th century, all young children wore constricting bodices under dresses, similar to those worn by women.
Many times, the bodices had leading bands or strings attached to help parents guide those younger children who were learning to walk. Sometimes those strings were even retained on young girls’ clothes to signify youthfulness, even long after they had learned to walk.
Even in the late 1700s, many kids, three months and up had to wear stays because it was believed that they supported the back and helped to maintain proper posture.
Getting dressed wasn’t fun in the past. But now it can be! This important milestone is both exciting and beneficial for your children. Plus there are sites like cuterascals.com that have adorable kids clothing.
Here are some tips for knowing when and how to teach them.
When Should Kids Learn to Dress Themselves?
Learning how to dress is an essential skill and milestone for kids. It benefits them psychologically and emotionally as it lays the foundation for even more skills to develop, such as fine motor skills.
It’s also empowering! It’s a big step for a child to start doing things on their own, especially putting on their own clothes.
The average age at which kids start showing an initiative to dress themselves is around 2 or 3. That being said, some children don’t dress themselves until age 5 or 6.
Every child is different, and there’s nothing wrong with being on the early or the later side. But the earlier you start, the easier it will be for them to do other things!
Start by Getting Your Child to Take off Their Clothes
The same way that kids reach a point where they start taking off their own diapers, they’ll reach a point when they’re ready to start removing their clothes.
Clothes are easier to take off than to put on, so start by getting your little one to do just that. When it’s almost bath time, ask your little one to help mommy or daddy by getting undressed.
Each time you come home, ask your child to take his or her shoes and jacket off the way that you as parents do.
Start with Simple Clothing
When you ask your child to start dressing themselves for the first time, keep the outfits simple. Elastic pants and loose shirts are perfect starting points. You want your child to feel the thrill of success without having to get too frustrated right off the bat.
Stay away from buttons and zippers until they’re ready.
Opt for a pair of slip-on shoes or velcro so that they can learn easily on their own.
Offer Lots of Encouragement
It can be both exciting and frustrating when your little one learns something new. But even if it takes them 10 times as long to do what you can do for them, be patient.
Offer lots of encouragement and make it an exciting new milestone. You want your child to feel empowered by her new development so that she’s excited to keep doing it and master it.
Name each piece of clothing as your child takes it off and give her praise and encouragement for her hard work.
Give Your Child Clothing Clues
Before you send your child on his first dressing adventure, talk to him about the clothes.
Show him how to face the shorts the right way and how to know what is front and back. Talk to him about the tag on his shorts or a string in the front that indicates which way they’re meant to be put on.
Do the same thing with shirts or dresses. Teach your little one that if there’s a photo or design on the shirt, that typically means it’s the front. But they can always look for a tag or a printed label to be sure.
Make It Easy
If your child is putting on pants for the first time, have him or her sit on the bed or the floor to do so. Learning to put one leg in after the other is much easier with the support of sitting down.
Depending on the age or development of your child, you can start small like putting a dress over her head for her, but getting her to push her arms through.
Don’t do it if you’re in a rush to get out the door. You don’t want to do anything that will turn your child off from dressing himself, so make sure that you have ample time for him to learn and do so.
Lay the Clothes out the Night Before
Make it fun and exciting by getting your kids to pick and lay their clothes out the night before.
It gives them something to look forward to in the morning, and then the outfit is already established, which saves you time as a parent. Plus, if they wake up before you, they already have an important, developmental task to start their day.
Make It Fun!
Make getting dressed fun! Start with their favorite clothes or taking them on a little shopping trip.
Even though you’ll probably end up guiding their choices, get them to help pick out clothes for themselves that they love. If they’re proud of the outfits they get to layout the night before, they’ll be more inclined to dress.
Long gone are the days of boring and uncomfortable clothing for children. There are so many options to choose from, and they don’t have to break the bank!
Check out IKKS kids clothes as an option. The French designer creates clothes for children that are both refreshing and adorable.
Getting Dressed Is an Exciting Milestone
When kids start getting dressed by themselves, it’s an exciting developmental milestone that the whole family should be proud of.
Take your time and start small. Give your little ones the tools they need to make it easier.
Make it fun by taking a shopping trip or letting your kids pick their clothes out the night before.
Are you looking for other tips and tricks for your little one’s first milestones?
Take a look at some other articles in our “new moms” archives for more help and information on raising little ones!