There are many self-help skills for preschoolers, and we are working on many at home. In fact, for all of my wee ones. The one that is the focus of most of my attention right now is teaching Sammy to get himself dressed. Getting dressed was not really an issue for Madeline. She picked it up quickly and easily – occasionally shoes on the wrong feet, but honestly not a skill I needed to put too much thought into.
Well, all wee ones are different! One of the self-help skills for preschoolers that my Sammy has had very little interest in is getting dressed. Therefore, for the first time I have had to put some thought into how to teach wee ones about getting dressed. I would really love some advice from Mama’s who have had the same challenges.
The 3 most helpful strategies I have found as of yet are:
1. Have clothing choices on an open shelf.
We have these great open shelves at the end of each closet. I can’t take any credit – they were there when we moved in. But I love them. They are great for so many things – but right now I am loving them for storing Sammy’s clothing choices. I put out 2 or 3 pants, underwear, shirts, etc. on the shelf and Sammy can choose (easily) whatever he would like to wear. He is not overwhelmed by choices, and he always chooses proper clothing for the weather. So at least we have the choosing part under control!
2. Have sweatshirts or coats hanging within easy reach.
With this Fall weather we have been needing sweatshirts sometimes – inside and outside (as I love my windows open!). We have a hook at Sammy’s eye level in his bedroom with one or two zip sweatshirts hanging within easy reach. He is then able to easily get the sweatshirt when asked, or when he would like it. And put it away as well … ahem.
3. Have ‘easy to put on’ shoes or boots marked for the right feet.
As a Kindergarten teacher, if I am being completely honest, I will sometimes look at a pair of little shoes and shudder. Lost shoes, wrong feet, and feet that have grown throughout the day! (Funny story – in no way related, so please feel free to skip. When I was teaching Kindergarten, a little girl was putting on her winter boots to go home. She was the last one to leave and having a terrible time getting them on. I was trying to help, but the boots where clearly far too small. I knew they were her boots, and I saw her wear them outside for recess that same day. There was no way those boots were getting on her feet! I was thoroughly puzzled until she told me “*Emily* was wrong, her boots are not exactly the same as mine.” She had switched boots with another Kindergartner – same boots different size. Yes – I do dread winter boots!) Sorry – back to #3! We wrote the letter ‘s’ on the inside of Sammy’s shoes to help him remember which shoe went on which foot. He knows the ‘S’s have to kiss. We also have a very simple pair of slip on shoes for him to wear – which he can easily do independently.
I am definitely seeing progress and some independence emerging in getting himself dressed, but this is an area we will definitely be continuing to work on. Self-help skills for preschoolers are very unique to each child. Where one child struggles, another thrives – even in the same family!
Do you have any suggestions or advice on what has helped your wee ones with getting dressed?