Mornings are crazy hectic in my household.
My 4-year-old is very particular about the clothing she wants to wear- this morning alone she changed her pants 5 times. I don’t even go that far. It took about 20 minutes out of our morning, rendering us perilously late for drop off and spreading anxiety far and wide throughout our household.
My 6-year-old wears a uniform to school so the selection isn’t the issue but the physical ability to put clothing on is. He is a child that frustrates easily- if he can’t undo his belt in 2 seconds, a fit ensues. If his shoes don’t slide on effortlessly, they might be tossed down the stairs. We are working on the emotional side of this with him, but wouldn’t it be easier if the whole getting dressed process was just EASIER?
Here are my top tips for helping kids to get dressed by themselves. After all, my job in life is to raise independent individuals, right? Helping kids dress themselves is one small step for kidkind, one giant leap for parental stress relief.
Easy On Shoes
My son has had Velcro shoes since day one and I don’t see the whole no laces thing going away anytime soon. The problem is, he has massively wide feet so he has to totally loosen the Velcro straps to even get the kicks on his feet, not to mention the fact that finding wide shoes in this particular style is tough.
I recently discovered the holy grail of shoelaces- U-Lace No-Tie Sneaker Laces. These are elastic laces that fit in your existing shoes. They convert regular lace shoes into slip-ons- totally brilliant, right? A bonus with U-Lace for someone like my son is that they are adjustable in dozens of ways. His feet are wider at the base and more narrow in other places, so I was able to configure the laces in a way to accommodate that by changing the pattern.
They are also incredible for children with autism and developmental disabilities, allowing kids to wear traditional lace-up sneakers in larger sizes instead of hook and loop (Velcro) shoes only.
Seriously you need to try these- they have been a major game-changer in our household. U-Lace is giving my readers 20% off using coupon code ALLDRESSEDUP on their website! PS- Mark Cuban made a deal on Shark Tank with U-Lace…and he knows a thing or two about sports and sneakers 🙂
Allow Them to Express Their Personality
I see so many children at the playground where we live shoved into stuffy designer clothes. Seriously? Did they pick out that uber-uncomfortable Burberry trench? My daughter adores anything with sparkles, pink or ruffles. Clothing is an expression of your personality and I firmly believe that kids should be allowed to express themselves through this medium (Within reason… crop tops for toddlers? Not in my house).
If children are allowed to help shop for their own clothing and select their outfit for the day, they will be more likely to dress themselves. Parents- remember that their clothing selection does not reflect your taste. If it did, I would be out of a job!
Since my son wears a uniform to school, shoes are the only item of clothing that isn’t regulated by the school. He customized his sneakers with U-Lace to represent The Hulk colors- pretty fabulous in my opinion!
Make Anything That Needs Fastening Easy
I sent my son to school with an adorable D-ring belt on the first day of school. It had whales printed on it and matched his uniform perfectly. Umm…forgot about the fact that he needed to use the bathroom throughout the day and had to ask his teacher for help getting his belt undone. #MomFail
He didn’t want to wear a belt after that, but his pants kept falling down. I had been wearing my Jelt Belt, a super stretchy, easy buckle belt, for a few years and wished they made them for kids. Finally, my prayers were answered in the form of an email from their PR team- Jelt Junior was born.
They sent me a couple of belts to try out and my son and I were smitten from first fasten. A belt that he could operate himself, that grew with his size, and most importantly for him looked cool and sporty.
Use An Incentive
My kids usually get to watch TV only on the weekends, but I tell them that if they dress themselves and brush their teeth independently they are allowed to watch before school. I also tell them that the faster they accomplish these tasks the more TV time they have. A little incentive (bribery?) usually gets their bottoms in gear, and the thought of Wild Kratts before school is pretty sweet.
Have Kids Help Each Other
My daughter loves dresses and tights, but getting them on is quite the challenge. I have a million things to do in the AM, including pack lunch and actually get dressed myself. One morning my Charlotte came to me in tears because she couldn’t get her pants on by herself. I was in the shower so no help from me. I spied Bryson and asked if he could help her- yep, together they got the terrible tights on and were able to watch TV. This is the scene to which I came out of the shower; they were pretty darn proud:
Allowing your child to put their clothes on by themselves is a major step. Try not to step in and help if they aren’t frustrated. Yes, this might mean a few mis-buttoned buttons or a backward shirt, but they will be so proud that they DID IT THEMSELVES without you butting in to correct their work. Later, you can give them tips on how to tell front from back (tags!), how to put on tights easier (bunch them up in your hand with your thumbs inside the toe part), and the easiest way to button a shirt (start at the bottom to match up buttons easier).
Cheers to a little more independence from your little ones!
Disclosure: I received U-Lace and Jelt Belt for review purposes; all opinions are honest and my own as always!