Dressing is such a large routine that I have decided to split it into two separate posts. It is possible to extend this routine to over 30 minutes where both parent and child are having fun teaching each other how to dress.
Part II will focus on putting clothes on. This part focuses on how we can use taking clothes off to teach body parts and sequencing amongst other things:
- Sequencing (i): Changing clothes may form a part of a larger sequence such as bed time or getting ready to go out. In this instance, you can help your child understand where the act of changing clothes sits in a larger sequence: “First, get changed into your pyjamas then bed time” or “First, get changed then hop into the car”
- Sequencing (ii): You can use the following phrase to teach your child the concept of sequencing: “First take (clothing #1) off then (clothing #2) off”. This requires that your child hold the latter half of the sequence in short term memory while completing the first half. This also teaches your child that there are logical steps in routines: “first socks off then pants off”
- Clothing labels: You can ask your child to take specific articles of clothing off. For children who may not have the fine and/or gross motor abilities to do so, you can ask them to show you where those articles of clothing are on their body. Consider the following examples where the subjects are socks but the requirements of a child are different :
- Take off your socks
- Where are your socks?
- Point to/show me your socks
- Body parts: Ask your child to manipulate their body parts so you can take particular clothes off. For example: “arms up (to take jumper off)”, “feet up (to take socks off)”
- Adjectives/opposites: Many children tend to enjoy watching exaggerated reactions. Things that are dirty, wet or smelly work well. For example: Pointing out that your child’s clothes are dirty then making a silly scrunched up face and saying “yucky!” after sniffing your child’s dirty clothes
- You can also teach the corresponding opposite afterwards (e.g. dirty/clean)
- Fine and/or gross motor: Have your child attempt to take pieces of clothing off first before you gently help them if they do get stuck. You could also consider helping your child partially take off they clothes leaving the tricky part for them to attempt
- Self-help/independence: You can simply let your child do everything without any verbal/physical help. You will eventually want your child to be able to do this.
Tip: You can get your child to teach you how to take clothes off because you have “forgotten” how to do it. This is a great way to reinforce what they have learnt and to determine whether any gaps exists in their understanding.