As a parent, you most likely understand the struggles of getting your child dressed in the morning. The transition from waking up to getting started for the day can be a stressful learning process. Here are some tips from our occupational therapists to help smoothen your mornings and maybe even make it a fun learning experience.
1) The bigger the better
For fall and winter, coats and sweatshirts can be a pain to put on in the morning. Try getting your coats one or two sizes bigger than you normally would. The coats and sweatshirts remain zipped, whether it’s on or off the body. When your child takes their coat off for school, they can easily step into the coat when it’s time to put it back on without having to re-zip.
2) Overhead flip
This trick is used by parents everywhere. It is convenient and a great way for your child to learn to independently put on their coats. Lay the coat/sweater face up on the floor or bed in front of your child. The neck/hood should be closest to your child’s body. Then, have your child kneel down, put their arms in the sleeves, and then stand up and reach their arms towards the ceiling. Tada! The coat flips back and your child just independently put on their coat/jacket.
3) Picking out outfits the night before
This tip can help save you A LOT of time in the morning. Being prepared can make getting dressed easier to manage and less stressful. Preparing the night before is also a great way to get your child involved in making decisions on what they want to wear the next day. If you are prepared and establish a set routine, getting dressed in the morning will become less stressful.
4) Pull em’ up
Everyone knows putting on a pair of pants can be a process. For your little kiddo who is just starting to learn how to put pants on independently, we suggest using pants with an elastic waistband. The buttons and zippers can make a complicated process harder and so we recommend simplifying the task with stretchy waistbands. First, help out your kiddo by holding one pant leg open at a time. After both legs are in, prompt them to pull them up using both hands. If at first they are having a hard time, help your child by pulling the pants up to their thigh and have them pull the pants up the rest of the way. Over time, help should be faded, and soon your child will be independently putting on their pants.
5) Slipping it on
Last but not least, the shoes. The first pair of shoes should be stretchy, low-top, slip-ons. These are super comfortable for young children and are easy to put on. For kids learning to put on their own shoes, it is that they get lots of practice! For the first few times, it is important that you model by also putting on shoes as well. This is helpful for all of our visual learners as they can imitate what they see. Kiddos have found scrunching up their toes before inserting them into the shoes helpful. After their toes are in, the heel follows, and viola! The shoes are on!