Putting On and Taking Off a Jacket Information Sheet

Advice on putting on and taking off a jacket along with some hints and tips

Putting On and Taking Off a Jacket

By 2 years your child should be able to take off their unfastened jacket. Between the ages of 3 and 4 your child should be able to put their jacket on. Although they may not manage zips and buttons.


Hints and Tips 

Here are some tips to help:

  • Practice taking your jacket off first – it’s easier!
  • Start with a jacket that is a bit too big. Loose-fitting clothing is easier to manage than tight fitting clothing. Let them practice putting on your jacket. Make it into a game.
  • Your child needs lots of practice putting their arms into sleeves. So practice with shirts, cardigans, pyjama tops, etc.
  • Children learn in different ways so you might need to vary your approach.  There are a number of ways in which you can help:

- Physically assist your child

- Show your child

- Tell your child

Try each of these ways to find what works for your child. Sometimes you might need to use more than one of these methods. Please remember that some children cannot look and listen at the same time. You are aiming to give the least amount of support needed. If you start by physically helping your child, work towards showing them what to do. Then work towards telling them what to do.

  • A good way to teach your child how to get dressed is to break down each task into small steps. You can teach them the last step first.  This technique is called backward chaining. Once they can do the last step of the task, teach them the second-last step, then the third-last step and so on.
  • If your child is struggling it can be tempting to take over - don't! Give your child time to work it out for themselves. Give them lots of encouragement and hints if you need to. If needed, talk them through what to do and only step in if they get really stuck. Make sure you have got plenty of time to practice.
  • Instead of correcting a mistake (e.g. twisted collar or hood) why not encourage your child to look in the mirror. Now get them to work out what's wrong. You may need to ask them some questions and give them some hints.
  • There are different ways you can put on your jacket. Try them all to see which way works for your child. Once you have found the way that suits your child share this with other people. Make sure nursery/school staff, grandparents, child minder etc. all help the same way.


Try these to find out which one works for your child:



Activity Ideas

  • Make a game of this by taking an adult size shirt/jacket. Seal the cuffs with elastic bands and then hide small toys down each sleeve. Ask your child to put their arm in and pull out the toy.
  • Play dress up with your child; use a variety of oversized clothes.




Last reviewed July 2021.