Zips are usually the first fastenings that children learn to do. Their first zip is usually on their jacket. Children will need help to put the zip together to start with.
Children should be able to pull up a zip once the adult has put the pin into the box by the age of 3.
Hints and Tips
- Practice opening and closing lots of zips. Zips on pencil cases and bags are easier to start with.
- When you start practicing zips on clothes lay the item of clothing on a table or bed in front of your child. This will make it easier for them to see what they are doing. Once they can do the zip get them to practice with the clothing on their body.
- Use backward chaining to teach your child how to do zips. For step by step instructions see below.
- When buying clothing with zips test the zip before you buy.
- Make the zip pull easier to hold. Try attaching a zip pull cord, keyring, piece of string or ribbon. This will make it easier to hold and pull.
- If your child has to do a zip on a skirt twist the skirt so that the zip is at the front. Your child will be able to see what they are doing. Once the zip is closed twist the skirt round until it is in the right place.
- Look for clothing without zips if you need to. Velcro fastenings or elasticated waists will let your child be independent. Once they learn how to do a zip you can buy clothes with zips.
- If your child has a jacket with a zip, you can do the zip for them. Make sure the jacket is a bit too big. Your child can pull their jacket over their head with the zip already fastened. They then push their arms through the sleeves and pull it on over their head.
Backward Chaining Instructions
1. Get your child to put their jacket on. You then start the zip for them. Put the pin into the box and pull the zip up a little bit. You hold the bottom of the zip. Get your child to pull the zip up to the top.
2. This time, get your child to put their jacket on. You then start the zip for them. Put the pin into the box and pull the zip up a little bit. Get your child to hold the bottom of the zip and pull the zip up to the top.
3. This time, get your child to put their jacket on. Get your child to put the pin into the box. Your child then holds the bottom of the zip and pulls the zip up to the top. This step is the hardest to teach. You might need to put your hands over your child's when you are teaching this bit. Be patient and only help when they get really stuck.
Last reviewed July 2021.