Hesperian Health Guides
The Healthwiki provides free information to 20,000 people every day.
This is made possible by donors like you!
Make a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.
Children learn dressing skills at different ages, depending on local customs. Many children, however, learn dressing skills at about these ages:
Baby does not help at all.
Child begins to help when being dressed.
Child takes off loose clothing.
Child puts on loose clothing.
Child dresses alone
except for difficult steps.
A blind child will learn to dress herself more quickly if she dresses in the same place every day. It also helps if family members use the same word for each kind of clothing, and if they give the same instructions in the same order each time. It is best to teach dressing skills when your child needs them — for example, when taking clothes off for a bath or putting clothes on before going outside. This helps her understand why she takes her clothes off and puts them on.
To prepare your child to dress and undress by herself
Let your child touch what she is about to put on. This helps her get to know the feel of the clothing and how it is shaped before she puts it on. Describe the clothing and what color it is.
Ask your child to help you as you dress her. This will help her learn that she plays a part in getting dressed.
To help your child learn to undress and dress herself
Mark the back of your child’s clothes (with a knot, a small piece of material, or a safety pin) so that she can tell the difference between front and back. Also mark one of her shoes, so that she can tell the difference between the right shoe and the left.
It is easier for a child to take her clothes off than to put them on. So first teach your child to take her clothes off.
Maria, first push your pants down...
...then sit down and pull them off.
To help your child learn to put on pants, first help her find the front of her pants. Then help her put them on.
Roberta, put your right foot in the right pant leg. Push it until your foot comes out. Then do your left foot.
Now pull your pants up.
To help your child put on a shirt, explain that there are 3 holes and that the largest one is for her head. Then:
|Help her gather up the shirt so she can get her head through the large hole...||
Yena, first find the big hole for your head.
|...and put each arm into a sleeve and pull the shirt down.||
Then put your arms through the smaller holes.
Help your child learn to unbutton buttons. It may be easier to try this on adult clothes first, since the buttons are bigger. When she can unbutton, teach her to button.
Teach your child to put her clothes away in the same place each time. That way she can find them easily and will need less help.