Teach Kids How to Button a Shirt (in no time flat!)
Tips for Teaching Kids to Button
- Practice unbuttoning first.
- Break down steps of buttoning. Use consistent verbal and physical cues when helping the child button.
- If aligning buttons to the button holes is a difficult task, show them how to take this part a step at a time, by lining up the bottom button to the bottom hole.
- Practice buttoning from bottom to top. The child will have more room to work and a better view of the buttons at the bottom of a vest or shirt.
- Backward Chaining: Encourage success in buttoning by starting with the last step. Work on just this last step with your child until they have mastered it. Then, work on the previous step. Gradually, add more steps to the buttoning task until they are able to complete the whole process. Backward chaining encourages self-confidence and success in learning new skills.
- Practice buttoning with shirts/vests that are not visually distracting. Use a white shirt with colored buttons. You can also add a dot of paint to buttons to make them stand out.
- At first, practice buttoning with a shirt laying on the child’s lap or table, and positioned like it would be on their body. Practicing with a different shirt on the table gives the child more room to see the buttons and how their hands are working than if they are buttoning on their body.
- Then, practice with an over-shirt, with the shirt on their body.
- Practice with larger buttons.
- Iron the button and hole edges of the shirt for a stiffer material to work with.
- Practice with a jacket that is made with a thicker material, like corduroy.
- For younger kids (age 3) you can snip the button hole just a little to make buttoning easier.
More Activities to Work on Buttoning with Kids
- Work on the fine motor skills needed to button by pushing coins into a piggy bank.
- Cut a slit in felt and push a coin through the felt.
- Cut a slit in cardstock or construction paper. Push buttons through the slits. Try it with tissue paper, too.
- Hold coins or buttons on the edge and press them into play dough so they are standing on their edge.
- Thread beads onto pipe cleaners.
- Try this egg carton buttoning activity:
Make an Egg Carton Buttoning Tool to Help Kids Practice Buttoning:
Something to poke holes into the egg carton. I used the sharp end of a Corn Holder.
Ribbon, tissue paper, paper
Bend the pipe cleaner back up through the holes and back down to the inside of the egg carton. Twist the pipe cleaner ends together to secure the button. You will want the button to have some give and not be completely flat against the egg carton.
Small World Toys Learning – Before and After is great for kids who need to gain insight into concepts of before and after. You can not put your shoes on before you put your socks on. Cognitive concepts can be tricky for children to understand if auditory processing of these ideas are difficult.
Practice basic clothing fastener skills like buttons, zippers, snaps, and ties with the Melissa & Doug Basic Skills Board. The bright colors are fun and will get little fingers moving on clothing fasteners. Learning to Get Dressed Monkey is a fun toy for clothing fasteners.
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