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HealthWiki > Helping Children Who Are Blind > Chapter 8: Teaching Everyday Activities > Dressing

Children learn dressing skills at different ages, depending on local customs. Many children, however, learn dressing skills at about these ages:

a woman changing a baby's diaper.
Less than one year old:
Baby does not help at all.
1 year:
Child begins to help when being dressed.
a child putting his arm into a shirt sleeve.
2 years:
Child takes off loose clothing.
a child taking off a skirt.
3 years:
Child puts on loose clothing.
a child putting on a skirt.
4 years:
Child fastens
large buttons.
HCWB Ch8 Page 78-5.png
5 years:
Child dresses alone
except for difficult steps.
HCWB Ch8 Page 78-6.png

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

a boy speaking as he hands a shirt to a child.
Meena, here’s your red shirt.

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.

a woman speaking as she dresses a child.
Now I’m putting your red shirt over your head.

As you dress your child, tell her the name of each piece of clothing and the part of the body it goes on.
a girl speaking to a child.
Rosa, hold out your right arm so I can put on the sleeve of your yellow shirt.

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

a woman speaking as she and a child hold a pair of pants.
Ouan, this button is on the back of your pants.

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.

a girl speaking to a child who is undressing.
Maria, first push your pants down...
HCWB Ch8 Page 80-3.png
...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.

a woman speaking as she helps a child get dressed.
Roberta, put your right foot in the right pant leg. Push it until your foot comes out. Then do your left foot.
HCWB Ch8 Page 80-5.png
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...
a woman speaking as she helps her child get dressed.
Yena, first find the big hole for your head.
...and put each arm into a sleeve and pull the shirt down.
HCWB Ch8 Page 81-2.png
Then put your arms through the smaller holes.
a woman speaking as she helps a child button a shirt.
Xiang Yi, hold the button in one hand, turn it on its side, and push it through the hole in the shirt.

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.

a child hanging a jacket on a peg.

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.

a woman speaking to a child while hanging clothes on a clothesline.
After I wash the clothes, Olivia, I hang them to dry in the sun.

Teach your child how clothes are washed and dried.