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Getting Your Child to Dress Themselves Quickly

Why oh why does the morning time have to be so stressful? Rushing around trying to get dressed, get the children dressed, have breakfast, prepare lunch boxes, feed the dog and get everyone out of the house on time – we all know the nightmare! Being late by even just five minutes can make a huge difference to the rest of the day. So here is some of our best advice on how you can ensure that your child is getting dressed on time every day.

There are a few things that you can do in advance and you know those things yourself. What if however, you could also get your young children to get dressed themselves within a particular timeframe? From as early as possible, your child should be encouraged to dress himself/herself by starting with helping you with dressing them. Simple things like holding up their arm for you to put their shirt on is one the first steps.

Encourage them when they do this and try to let them do a little more each day. They will soon be able to fully dress themselves. In the mornings however, you are under pressure for time and that is when you need your child to dress quickly. We often get so frustrated when our child doesn’t get dressed quickly and then end up dressing them ourselves to hurry the process up. It would be better however to stick to a routine and get your child to learn how to dress quickly. Let’s look at some things you can do to get your child to hurry up and stick to the morning routine. Here are some things you can try:

Top Tips!

Sometimes a simple change like going to bed earlier so that you can get up earlier can make all the difference, ensuring you are not in a rush and have plenty of time.

Carefully plan your morning routine with your child. A picture chart showing the sequence of tasks (washing, dressing, breakfast etc.) can be really helpful. Make sure to place a task your child enjoys (such as breakfast) after an unpleasant one (such as dressing).

Give your child lots of attention and praise as they dress and anytime they cooperate even a little (e.g. “Well done for putting your sock on, that is a great help!”)

Try to make the dressing routine fun for both of you. Maybe make up a game such as a race to ‘dress the fastest’ or ‘follow the leader’. Sometimes playing music or singing a ‘dressing song’ can help a child cooperate.

Be clear on the rules that will help your child. For example, no breakfast until he/she is dressed, and/or he/she must stay in his room until dressed.

Keep in mind!

Consider giving your child a reward if they get dressed by a certain time. This could be a sticker on a chart, ten minutes play or even ten minutes TV time. This could be on the chart as the last item – that way, your child is encouraged to stick to the morning routine chart so that they can get their reward.

Think through a sanction that you would be prepared to enforce if your child does not get dressed in time. For example, if they are not finished by a certain time, then he has to finishing dressing or have breakfast in the car. Perhaps they get reduced play or TV time later on that day.

Praise good efforts! In the evening time, if your child has stuck to the routine well that morning, remind them of how good they were and how happy you are with them. Perhaps you could give them a special cuddle or an extra bedtime story as a reward for being so good that morning. 

Finally, be patient with your child and yourself. Learning the skill of getting dressed and getting used to a morning routine takes time and many children need a lot of support and practice before they can get this right. Persevere – it will be worth it in the long term!

Article Provided by Help Me To Parent Ltd who are taking bookings for courses on Parenting Teenagers, Parenting After Separation or Divorce & much more. All courses are 1 full day (Sat or Sun) from 9.30am to 4.30pm. View more information on their website.