4 simple ways to get your kids to dress themselves

Most parents will know that panicked feeling you get when you're rushing to get ready on a busy morning and your child chooses that moment to decide they don't feel like putting clothes on!

In the interest of making your mornings as easy as possible, today I'm sharing 4 tricks I use in my home and with my clients to encourage young kids to dress themselves - without nagging from Mum!

These tips work best with kids aged 3 - 6 years, which in my experience is the trickiest age to get them dressed and ready in the morning. If your kids are older or younger, think about how you can adapt these tricks to work with your children :)

Here are my 4 simple ways to get your kids to dress themselves!

1. Make sure their clothes are easy to put on & take off. For most at home days or day care days, simple outfits work best - kids can play without fear of getting too messy and they're comfortable from morning to afternoon. When you're shopping for play clothes, keep it simple and choose items that are easy to put on, easy to take off, for example:
  • Track pants or leggings that pull on with no buttons or zips
  • Plain socks (no pictures) so no one can tell if they're put on upside down or inside out
  • Shirts that are one size larger so arm holes are easy to find and manoeuvre into
2. Give them 2 - and only 2 - choices on what to wear. Kids this age love to be considered grown up, so let them have their say on what they'd like to wear each morning. You'll find they're much more keen to get dressed if they get to pick what they'll put on. Of course, you still need to get ready quickly, so limit choices to 2, and be very specific in the way you present the choices - "Blue shirt or red shirt - Which one?". See how I did that? Two choices, and then asked for their response. And then say nothing else untill they answer. Keep your voice tone low and calm and it works every time.

3. Start them off, then get busy and check in later. The key here is to begin the task together to build confidence, then show you know they're capable by walking away, and finally comfort by letting them know when to expect you back. An example:

"Ok honey, let's put your shirt over your head. Look for the tag, that goes at the back" Head goes in with help from Mum / Dad. 

"Great, now you put this arm in while I go get your shoes, and I'll be right back to help in a minute" Walk away, get shoes and return. If the arm found it's way in successfully, great! If not, they've at least had a go themselves, and it will only take a few more tries over the next fortnight to get the hang of it.

4. House the whole activity in a simple routine. Routine helps kids because they know what to expect each time, and they build confidence with familiarity. To see how well it can work for your family, pick one of these 'rules' for your house and do it every day for 2 weeks:
  • "After Peppa Pig finishes, we get dressed" Turn the TV off after Peppa Pig, even if the kids are still eating breakfast. They'll finish faster and get dressed next without distraction.
  • "When you hear the music, it's time to get dressed" Turn the radio on when it's time to get dressed
  • "When Mum says the secret code word, it's time to get dressed" Use a word they think is funny, or ask the kids to come up with the code word - they'll get a kick out of Mum / Dad sounding silly and getting dressed will be more exciting. 
Bonus Tip: Encourage just 1 step to be done independently until it can be done. You might be working with your daughter on putting her socks on by herself - that's all. Help with everything else and then do the "start them off technique" for the socks, every day, until she can do socks by herself. Then pick the next step and go from there!

There you go - 4 ideas to try this week!

Give them a go for two weeks, then let me know how they work for you :)

 photo msigtrans.png

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE AS A GUEST POST ON YOUR BLOG OR IN YOUR NEWSLETTER? Of course you can - just make sure to include this bio and picture with it:
 photo mprofilepicwg1_zps0920e565.jpg
Marissa Roberts helps busy mothers find more time in the day to do everything. She teaches family friendly organising and time management techniques to mums looking for more work, life and family balance. Get her FREE ebook “5 Steps to an Easy Morning" at www.beautifullyorganised.com


  • Picture by my husband
  • This post is not sponsored or paid for in any way

Like this post? Share it with your friends by clicking one of the buttons below!