Teaching children to get dressed on their own can be a tricky subject. Kids do many milestones at different ages and teaching independence skills can be frustrating. Teaching kids to get dressed depends on many small splinter skills that make up the end result of clothing on, fasteners done, and child ready to go for the day. Learning to get dressed takes time and it depends on the development of fine and gross motor skills, visual-motor skills, and even self-confidence. Children may reach some milestones ahead of “schedule” and require more time or practice to reach others. It is important to remember that every child is different.
We are sharing some approximate self-care milestones in dressing for kids and toys that can help with this skill.
Childhood Milestones for Getting Dressed
One year old:
- Takes off socks
- Helps with pushing arms through sleeves
- Removes shoes
- Helps with pushing down pants
- Helps with pulling on socks
- Pushes arms through sleeves once shirt is over head
- Removes hats
- Assists with pants by pushing legs into pants
- Unbuttons large buttons
- Attempts buttons
- Able to pull on an open front shirt or jacket with assistance
- Removes open front shirt/coat (without fasteners)
- Puts socks and shoes on
- Able to pull on a shirt correclty
- Able to put on shoes (may be wrong feet)
- Able to put on socks (may be incorrectly oriented)
- Able to pull up a zipper if engaged
- Able to button large buttons
- Able to unzip a jacket
- Able to unbuckle a buckle
- Able to pull shirt on and orient clothing (front to back correctly)
- Takes off shirt and pants
- Buttons coat or shirt
- Able to put socks on with correct orientation
- Able to intiiate zipper by inserting one side into the zipper carriage
- Put shoes on correct feet
- Dresses independently
- Zips/unzips independently
- Ties shoes
- Chooses clothing appropriate to the weather
Toys for helping kids learn to get dressed:
When a child needs to work on some skills for their independence, toys can be the way to go! These toys are great for developing independence in dressing skills. This post contains affiliate links. See our full disclosure here.
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.
Books about learning to get dressed:
“Ella Sarah Gets Dressed” is a fun book to read for getting dressed ideas.
Toys to work on clothing fasteners:
Working on buttons, snaps, and other fasteners is great for practicing on boards, books, and dolls. However, it is often difficult for children to relate the skills they learn on these tools to real clothing that is ON their bodies. Manipulating clothing and fasteners is actually OPPOSITE movement patterns when fastening these same fasteners on the body verses on a board or doll that the child is looking at. This Special Needs Sensory Activity Apron (Children & Adult Sizes) solves that issue as the child can manage the clothing fasteners right on their lap. This is so great for children with motor planning difficulties. You cold also use a Montessori Buttoning Frame with Large Buttons Dressing Frame and lay it right on the child’s lap.
Childrens Factory Manual Dexterity Vests – Button-Zipper Combo Vest is a good way to practice buttons and zippers right on the child.
Sometimes managing a zipper can be difficult because grasping the zipper is ineffective or clumsy. A large zipper pull can make managing the zipper on clothing or a backpack much easier.
These 4 pcs Large Flowers Zipper Pull / Zip pull Charms for Jacket Backpack Bag Pendant are great for flower lovers, or maybe your child would rather have cool toy story zipper pulls.
More fine motor practice can be done with the Buckle Toy “Bentley” Caterpillar. I actually love this for the Toddler age set who LOVE to buckle car seats, high chairs, and all things buckles. This cute little caterpillar also works on numbers for pre-math learning, too.
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.
Responsibility Chart for Getting Dressed:
I Can Do It! Reward and Responsibility Chart is a great idea for kids that need a little motivation to be independent. Making the morning routine smoother can make a big difference in independence. Older kids may benefit from this chart for self-confidence or working on responsibilities.
Shoe Tying Gifts:
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wood Lacing Sneaker is a fun toy for shoe tying practice. The big, chunky shoe makes it fun. Sometimes different colored shoe laces help when a child is learning to tie shoes. I love these Easy Tie Shoelaces that come in two different colors.