1. Create an environment where it is possible for your child to start to dress herself
Put clothes in drawers and cupboards at a level where your child can reach and take them out for herself. It is important to put just a few suitable clothes since children feel overwhelmed and cannot make choices for themselves if there are too many options. If you make sure that you only put out the ones you are happy for her to wear then it does not matter what she chooses. You don’t mind and she is happy because she feels she has a say in the matter!
2. Show your child how to choose her clothes
Even when you have provided these limited choices for your child you cannot just expect her to choose. You have to help her to start making choices by saying ‘would you like the blue T-shirt or the one with the Strawberries on the front?’
3. Make time for her to choose
To start with she may find it difficult to choose. Allow time for her to think and always go along with her choice. Soon you will find that suggesting that ‘we get dressed’ is greeted with smiles rather than a tantrum.
Appropriate Clothes for Independence in Dressing
1. Offer clothes that make it possible for your child to dress herself
Clothes with simple fastenings will make it possible for your child to dress herself, for example, T-shirts that pull over her head, trousers with elastic waistbands, zips, Velcro and snap fastenings that she can manage herself. Bows and tiny buttons are too difficult when your child is just starting out on dressing herself.
2. Show your child how to dress herself
- Show your child what to do by slowing down your movements and breaking each action down into simple steps that your child can see and follow.
- Be prepared to let her struggle with it a little, it is only through effort that she will learn to do it for herself.
- When she has tried a little and is starting to get frustrated give her just enough help to get her over the challenge she is having but don’t finish dressing her. Let her carry on with the next step by herself. Little by little she will learn to do it all for herself.
* Demonstration of putting on a sock
- Sit on the floor barefoot with a pair of your own socks.
- ‘I am going to show you how to put a sock on.’ Sometimes she will want to watch, sometimes not. Respect her choice.
- First, insert both your thumbs into one sock and show in an exaggerated manner that you are stretching the sock (pulling it open).
- Slip your toes into the sock, but keep your thumbs inside the sock.
- Pull the sock in stages onto your foot and over your ankle-bone until all the fabric is on the foot and ankle.
- If you have captured her attention, it is her turn to imitate what she saw and to attempt to pull on her sock.
- This is done not once but many times over a period of weeks or months, following the child’s interest.
* Demonstration of putting on a shoe
- Open the Velcro tab.
- Lift the tongue.
- Stretch the space inside the shoe.
- Insert the foot.
- Close the tab.
3. Allow time
Montessori It takes longer for your child to do things that you can do easily because she is just learning to control her body. Give her enough time to work on it for herself.