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 I focused on taking clothes off. This part focuses on locating and putting clothes on:
- Prepositions (locations): Before you put your child’s clothes on, you can ask him/her to look for them. You can either let them search for the articles of clothing on their own or you can give clues using prepositions (e.g. sock on table, the jumper is in the cupboard, pants at the bottom).
- Following a point or gaze: A great one for children who tend to forget to give eye contact. In this instance, you can point or stare at the location of the piece of clothing without saying a word
- Fine motor/gross motor/self-help/independence: You can let your child put the clothing on himself/herself only helping when they ask for it. It helps to not look at them struggle to put clothes on so they have to ask for your help. Otherwise, they will wonder why you aren’t helping them when you can clearly see them struggling.
- Body parts: Manipulate particular body parts so you can put a piece of clothing on. For example: “feet out” for sock/shoe on, “one leg up” for putting pants on.
- Sequencing: Teach your child that some routines require one action to be completed before the step step can be completed. For example: “First undies then pants”. This also requires that your child commit the latter half of the instruction (pants) to short term memory while working on the first half of the instruction (undies).
- Error identification and correction: Another one which children tend to enjoy. Here, you are putting clothing on the wrong body part, pretending you don’t realise it is incorrect (e.g. putting a shoe on your child’s hand, putting socks on your child’s head). When your child realises, follow this up with a “silly Mummy/Daddy!” while making a big fuss about how silly you are. Ask your child to identify the correct body part to put the clothing instead.
Tip: Try reversing the roles! Your child can help you put clothes on. This goes back to reframing your relationship from parent/teacher to friend/play partner.