Book Review - Jack Goes to Montessori School
Toddlers can peel.

Getting dressed at Two.

Getting dressed #1

Getting dressed is a big deal at this age. It's actually faster for us to allow Otis to dress himself than to face his resistance to our help.

In the morning Otis takes off his pajamas, picks out his own clothes and gets dressed. He starts by picking out his shirt and puts it on. 

Getting dressed #2 - shirt on

His shirts are all hanging on his low hanger. His shorts, pants and pajamas are in the large white basket. His socks and underwear are in the metal buckets next to the basket. 

Getting dressed cupboard

He selects fresh underwear and puts them on. He selects some shorts. He wears this pair often as they are the easiest ones he has to put on and take off. 

Getting dressed #3 shorts on

And then shoes. We peg them together to avoid him asking 'is this the wrong foot'! He will ask rather than put them on wrong. Otis has worn no other shoes than these sandals for a week. I will be reviewing them on the blog soon. They are handcrafted, comfortable and so easy for a toddler to put on and take off. 

Getting dressed #4 shoes on

Then he declares he is 'ready!'. 

Getting dressed #5 finished

If you are just getting started here are my tips!

Ensure clothes are easily accessible. Utilise low shelves and low hangers. Baskets and low drawers can be useful.

Allow access to a reasonable amount of clothing, not too many. It's unreasonable to expect a child to maintain order when there are excess clothes. 

Leave the child plenty of time to get dressed, don't rush. The child will lose confidence if rushed or if you take over the dressing while they are in progress. 

Encourage independence. Often once Otis gets started I leave the room so he will do as much as possible without relying on me for help. If they ask for help, do as little as possible, for example show them the arm hole, don't give up and start dressing them yourself. 

Give child friendly options and set the child up for success.  Buttons and zippers are often too difficult for a toddler, elastic waists are excellent. 

Only present reasonable options (don't put out clothes you don't want them to wear) and increase the options as the child gets older. 

If the child dresses unreasonably suggest a jumper/warmer clothing, take them outside and if necessary pack a jumper/warmer clothing if going out. Teach responsibility.

As the child gets older (two is a perfect time for this) have them put out their laundry on wash day and allow them to assist in washing/hanging/pegging and putting away their own clothes. 

Encouraging the child to dress themselves is worth it in the end. It may take longer initially but the more they do it the quicker they will become. Self dressing encourages the child to take care of their own clothing, coordination, concentration and independence. It increases body awareness and sense of self. 

It's also never too late to teach your child to self dress. Otis took ages before he could put on his shoes himself and still needs help on occassion getting his arms and legs into the right holes and putting his clothes on the right way!

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