Dressing Myself

Dressing is a complex skill that needs plenty of practice.

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Dressing Myself

Learning to dress independently is an important life skill.  Not only does it give the child a sense of achievement to master a new skill but also gives the parent precious few minutes first thing in the morning!

Click here for general information on dressing.

Click here for general information on putting a jacket on and off.

Click here to access a Dressing Social Story from NHS Lanarkshire.

Order of Dressing

By one year your child should be able to help you as you dress them by pushing their arms and legs through items of clothing. By 2 years they should be able to remove an unfastened jacket.

By 2 ½ years they can put on easy clothing such as a jacket or open front shirts without zipping/buttoning.

By the age of 3 they should be able to assist with zipping and unzipping and separating the zip at the bottom of a jacket.  Between the ages of 3-4 your child should be able to put their hands through both armholes and down the sleeves in front opening clothing (e.g. jacket).  They should also be able to take the same item off completely.

By 4 years old children should be able to get their clothes on and off independently but will not be able to manage fastenings (e.g. zips and buttons) for another year or two. 

 

Backward Chaining

When teaching a new skill we often start at the beginning.  This can be challenging for children who are struggling to master a skill.  One way of learning a new task while giving your child a sense of achievement is to use the backward chaining technique.  Backward chaining has been found to be particularly useful when learning self-care skills.  It can also be helpful when teaching younger children and those who have difficulty learning new skills.

So what is backward chaining?  You start by breaking the task down into small steps.  You teach your child the last step first, working backward from the goal.  You complete all of the steps except the last one and have your child practice the final step.  Your child will enjoy the success that comes from completing a task.  Once your child has mastered the last step you complete all of the steps except for the last two.  You teach your child the second from last step and they then complete the last step themselves.  Even more success!  You continue like this until you are teaching the first step and your child is completing all the other steps.

This is a particularly useful technique to use when teaching a child how to get dressed or undressed. This technique can also be helpful for teaching any task that has a number of steps.

For More Information

Managing Zips and Buttons

Buttons are a hard skill to master as it involves both hands working together but making slightly different movements.  Your child will not really be able to do this until after the age of 4.

Zips are usually the first fastenings that children learn to do.  This is usually on their jacket and they always require help to put the zip together initially.

Children should be able to pull a zip up once the adult has put the pin into the box from the age of 4.

Shoelace Tying

Tying your own shoelaces requires a level of dexterity (using both hands together) most children don’t possess until they’re between five and seven, so take it slow.

Here is new modern method you can try -

 

Before teaching your child this new modern method we would recommend you take time to practice on your own.  Being confident in the method yourself will reduce any anxiety and confusion when teaching your child.

If your child is struggling to create the first knot then try the technique shown below -

 

Another good resource for learning different methods to lace shoes, tie shoelaces and stop shoelaces from coming undone is Ian's Shoelace Site.

School Tie Tying

The further up the school your child progresses the more likely they are to require to wear a school tie.  During primary school this may only be needed for school photographs or special occasions but by secondary it is normally expected that children wear a school tie everyday.  It is important to be able to tie a tie independently so that changing for P.E. is not an issue.

 

Why not have a look at the following Harry Potter themed video which shows your child the basic method for tying a Hogwarts school tie.

 

 

 

Socks

Putting on socks is a skill that children can often find challenging particularly for children who experience difficulties in using both of their hands together to complete a task.

For More Information