How to Teach Your Kids to Get Dressed by Themselves - A Bountiful Love

How to Teach Your Kids to Get Dressed by Themselves

I am sure that your toddler or preschooler has been mastering their fine motor skills and they are more eager to do things by themselves. Our girls love to play pretend with costumes and at age 2 our Lily has a strong opinion on clothes she wants to wear.  I am sure that you've seen their frustration when they try to dress independently.  It is necessary to teach these practical life skills while they have the I can do it by myself attitude. These simple tips will also help their fine motor skills.

Here are some ways and tips to help them get dressed by themselves :

1. Help them master their buttoning skills.

     I made this "button frame" by using the things we already have at home. My husband's old button shirt and an old frame. I removed the glass part and used the cardboard part to hold the shirt. I did cut the shirt in the middle part and framed it. We started with 3 buttons only, so she won't feel overwhelmed.

Show them first how it is done, I just simply told her that the buttons need to go through the hole.

I also made the "Button Strip" for her. A button strip teaches the kids to:

1.  To practice pushing the button through the slit, as they would do to button up their shirt.

2.  To practice pulling it out through the slit as they would do to unbutton their shirt.

3.   Enhances their fine motor skills.

You will need few pieces of felt ( find it at any crafts stores or Walmart) cut it into squares approximately 3" x 3", a ribbon ( I used a wide ribbon so that I don't have to secure the other end of the ribbon ), a decent size button, thread, and needle.

How to make it: Make a slit on each of the squares felt, use different colors love colors!
                           Sew the button at the end of the ribbon

If you prefer to secure the other end, just simply slip one felt square at the other end and make a knot so it would act as a stopper.

2.  Teach the snap ons.

We used Lily's baby clothes with the snap ons.  Coach them to aim for the centers of the snaps and tell them to push the pieces together until she hears a “click”. This can be very hard for them, she got frustrated. You can help her by pushing it down gently with her.

 3. Master zipping skills.

Have you noticed that when your kid was maybe around 18 mos to 2 yrs old, they do know how to unzip their jackets? ( and it always happens when you are just about to leave the house and in a hurry. True story.) Just let them will serve them good later. Ha! Anyway..we used her own pants to practice her zipper skills.

4. Putting/slipping the shoes on

Well, I don't know about you but I did try correlating the left foot and left shoe..right foot and right shoe. She looked at me with that face like I was talking in an alien language. There are so many things our kid will and can learn and we are all about simplifying things for her.  Learning positions ( left, right, top, above) will be another story.  Teach them how to put their shoes on  ..on the right feet.

We did write L on both sides of her shoes..told her the L should kiss together.

I cut this circle sticker in half and instructed her to first form the circle shape before wearing her shoes (to be able to know her left and right shoe). You can also use a large sticker..any sticker and cut it in half.

Which kind of shoe is the best is really up to you. Rob and I prefer the velcro type.

Stretchy, slip-on shoes are also perfect picks for new learners. Show them first how you slip on your shoes. Encourage them to imitate you, while coaching her scrunch up their toes to help it ease out farther inside the shoe.

Never underestimate your toddler too, our two yr old knows how to put her shoes on. They are smart, encourage them.

If you choose to let them wear the shoestring type of shoes.. that's excellent ( always do what you think is best for your children). Start out by practicing their lacing skills.

See post on DIY LACING SET

5. Pulling the pants on and Pulling them down.

Pulling the pants on to get dress and pulling them down to get undress is also necessary.  Pulling them down is way easier but I suggest starting them early on this. I suggest right around when your potty training. Use stretchy pants to coach them into pulling it up and down. You can save the mastery of buttons and snappies for later if you prefer. Always remember the saying..Follow the leader. Show them first and encourage them to imitate you. It may not be as perfect as you would expect them to do, but offer support or a hand so they won't fall trying to balance. Practice. Practice..let them practice.


6. Jacket /Coat.

Lay the coat on the floor zipped open, on it's back,  collar near her feet,  have them stand over it and bend down, letting her arms and hands slip through the sleeves.  and tell them to raise their arms to the sky so the jacket goes over her head, then wiggle the jacket down behind her back.

See this video by The Hundred Languages of Children

7. Shirts and Tops

Use a simple and loose shirt. Lucy still has difficulty in this part, but she's learning every time. It just takes a lot of practice. Let them stand in front of a mirror and guide a shirt over her head. Play the peekaboo game say, “Peekaboo, I can’t see you,” and ask her to pull the shirt down over her face and around her neck when her shirt gets stuck in the forehead area. Hold out the sleeves and tell her to push her hand and arm through, one at a time. Lucy panics when she can't see, we tell her to calm down and breathe. It can really be frustrating but keep at it..they will get it. You can also encourage dolls to play by letting them dress and undress their dolly.

At a young age, right around before they turned two..we taught them how to put their clothes in the dirty hamper. Our two yr old Lily mastered this, same with Lucy. Sometimes, they get excited to play right away..a gentle reminder is good.  Giving them a simple responsibility is really good for them.

8. Socks

Starting out by placing the sock all the way over their heel, Let her do the last step which is to pull it up
over their heel and up their calf. Let them master this skill through practice until they can put on the sock starting at their toes.

My last and probably the most effective advice is to practice patience. It can be frustrating for a parent, believe me, we've been there. Practice makes it perfect. Helping them to be independent will serve them well later on and you as well.  I hope the tips mentioned will help you and if you have awesome tips, feel free to share!

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DIY sandbox


  1. Wonderful suggestions! I love the shoes - that's so clever!

    We also have a picture schedule of what to get dressed in first (which is especially important for outside winter gear)!

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely weekend!

  2. Great ideas! I would have never thought about teaching her in other ways than when we were getting dressed!

  3. Hi there! Followed you over from a link party tonight! Love this idea of being proactive in teaching them to dress themselves! I'm a new mommy and although this stage is far off, at least I'll be more prepared! Pinning this for later! Thanks for sharing!

  4. GREAT post!! Thanks for sharing. These are great tips. Thanks for linking up to What You Wish Wednesday. Please come back this week and share more with us!

  5. These are great activities! With school starting this will be great for my preschooler. Thanks so much for linking up to Pin Your Friday Favorite!

  6. I love these ideas! Thank you for sharing this post at City of Creative Dream's City of Links last Friday! I appreciate you taking the time to party with me. Hope to see you again this week :)

  7. Great tips! She is just concentrating so hard on getting those buttons done! I like the frame because it makes things easier to hold still for those little hands plus a completed task is 'framed'! What a neat idea to use stickers in the shoes to form a circle!!
    I am so glad you shared with us at The Home Matters Linky party! Please come back Wednesday and share again!

  8. Love this post! I taught my 2 girls how to get dressed somehow, but w/ a grandbaby now, I love these ideas!

  9. Its very very useful Article. You are rightly guided us . Teaching Our Kid Is Nowadays are Very Challenging... Now a days kids are growing very faster. So we have to teach them and keep them updated. Recently i searched for a new type of teaching like, teach our kids via app so i am collecting app... recently i got this app even though you may try this!!!

  10. Great ideas. My 9 year old still has trouble with buttons and tying (thanks dyspraxia) so I definitely will be trying these with him and my toddler when he's old enough to start getting dressed on his own. :)


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