Tips for Getting your Child Dressed in the Morning

Learning to dress independently can be an exciting time for children. It helps them gain independence and confidence in their daily activities and routines. However, dressing can be a difficult task to learn and often leads to frustration for many children and adults. Here are some simple tips and tricks for getting your child dressed in the morning:

Create a Routine

Create a routine that is simple and easy to follow each morning. Children benefit greatly from structure and consistency and a routine provides just that. Try using a visual schedule to display your morning routine. A visual schedule does not need to be fancy. You can simply draw pictures on a piece of paper in a sequential order for your child. For example, first eat breakfast, then brush my teeth, and last get dressed. This helps your child understand what to expect each morning and helps them accomplish it with greater independence.

Here is a simple FREE morning routine visual schedule for you: Morning Routine Visual Schedule

morning routine

If you would like to take it a step further, you can create a visual schedule for the dressing routine itself. For example, first they put on their shirt, then their underwear, and last their pants. Review and complete the schedule with your child the first couple of times. Then post it in their bedroom where they can see it. I tape my daughter’s schedule on her dresser for an easy display.

Sing Songs while Getting your Child Dressed

Incorporate song play or singing into your dressing routine. This is a fun and playful way to connect and engage with your child and it lightens the task of dressing! First, select a familiar tune such as “The Hokey Pokey” and modify it to fit your child’s dressing routine. Then, while dressing your child you can sing a song with them. For example, while putting on a shirt you can sing, “You put your head in, put your head out!” Or while putting on their pants you can sing, “You put your right foot in, put your right foot out, put your right foot in and your shake it all about!” Try to sing the same song in the exact same way each time you dress your child! This will add to the predictability of their dressing routine.

family dancing

Give Choices while Getting your Child Dressed

Try to give choices while dressing your child. This helps provide a sense of control and independence in a routine. I like to give 2-3 choices in order to keep it simple. For example, “Do you want red pants or blue pants?” or “do you want the tractor shirt or the dinosaur one?” If you are in a hurry and don’t have time to provide clothing choices, you always modify the choice you give your child. I often allow my daughter to choose the room that she gets dressed in. Sometimes, small choices can make a large impact.

two pants choices while getting your child dressed

Use Physical Activity

Use physical activity such as running, skipping, or jumping while your child is dressing. Children naturally crave movement and physical activity. I use something called the “running game” to help dress my children. First, we select a room to sit in, then I say, “Run and touch a door then come get your shirt on!” or “run and touch the couch and come get your pants on!” This game is fun and motivating for my daughters and allows them to exert energy at the same time.

If you are searching for more ways to foster independence and confidence in your little ones check out this wonderful post by a fellow Lansing Mom: Every Day Ideas for Raising Confident Children.


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