Getting dressed is one of those things in life that is an essential skill to learn, but one which a lot of children struggle to get the hang of (at least one element) and which a lot of children don't seem to think is a priority. This will remain the case as long as Mummy or Daddy are there to 'help' or do it for them, so here we look at how you can encourage your toddler to do it for themselves, or at least have a go.
There are two parts to getting toddlers to dress themselves. Firstly, there is the actual act of getting dressed and learning the different skills required. Secondly, there is the issue of what to wear and the tantrums and arguments that can occur if the clothes you want them to put on are not actually the ones they want to wear.
The goal for your toddler and what you are hoping to achieve is that by the time they go to school they should be able to at least do some of it by themselves. This is a skill that they should have before they go to school so that they can get changed for PE and changed back into school uniform.
The Tricky Bits
The most difficult parts of getting dressed for a toddler are buttons, zips and shoelaces. There are many aids on the market such as dolls and boards with false shoelaces that can help children to master these skills, but the best way for them to do it is by practising for themselves with a little bit of help from you. It is best to begin with items that don't have any of these things so that your little one can practise and just get used to putting on and taking off clothes. Once you feel confident about that, then you should introduce fastenings.
While you are still trying to master the art of making sure that your toddler has dressed themselves properly, your toddler will be busy trying to decide what outfit they want to wear. For most toddlers, particularly those from age two upwards, they will have a good idea of what they want to wear, even if you don't think it is particularly co-ordinated. The best advice is to go with the flow. Alternatively, they might want to wear the same thing every day. You can have all the kids designer wear in the world, but if they want to wear the same top every day, then there is not a lot you can do except impose some sort of restrictions and deal with the tantrum that is bound to follow.