Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Helping your child become an independent dresser

I thought I would share some of my ideas on how I am trying to encourage my child to be an independent dresser. For some time Bee, has wanted to pick out her own clothes and this can sometimes take a very... very...very...very...long time, with a lot of "I can do it!" being said.

I have found the solution to our little challenge. The night before, we go through what we are going to be doing the following day, for example, if we have preschool, ballet etc. Once we have done this the decision can be made on what she wants to wear. When she has chosen her clothes we hang them up on her pegs and the job is done! As soon as she wakes the next morning, our clothes are ready and waiting. There are always other 'morning' challenges to deal with, but at least this is one we can check off our list.

Who can play?
Children aged 2 years+ depending on their age and stage of ability.

What do I need?

  • Furniture that stores your child's clothes
  • Paper
  • Felt tip pens 
  • cello-tape
I chose to laminate the labels for the drawers, so that they last longer. You can always type out the labels on the computer and take real life pictures of the clothes, so that they are more recognizable than my drawings

What did we do?

To help Bee find her items of clothing and encourage independence and decision making skills, I needed to adapt her bedroom furniture. This is how her set of draws looked before.

By adding pictures/photographs of the items inside the draws, Bee can now clearly see what items are in each draw. I made sure that the items of clothing were sorted into separate drawers, for example pj's, socks, underwear, tops and pants. On a piece of paper I drew these items and wrote what they were on top the picture. The last thing I did was laminate and stick them onto the draws.

 Bee now loves choosing her clothes in the morning. She looks at both the pictures and words and is trying to segment and blend the letters.

Even just a simple idea as this can develop so many areas of learning. Read on to find out what areas are being developed.

What did we learn?
  • Communication and language-Talking about what she is going to wear. Listening to where she is going the following day and making choices based on this and following instructions 
  • Physical development- Fine and large manipulative skills and coordination when opening/closing draws and picking out clothes. Developing physical skills such as pulling up her own pasts and using fasteners such as buttons or zips.
  • Personal, social and emotional- Developing self help skills and independence. Also learning to ask for help when needed. Putting their clothes away after is also a self help skill
  • Literacy- Linking sounds to letters, learning how to read, blending and segmenting words and learning that print carries meaning.
  • Mathematics- Counting the draws, finding two socks that are the same. Learning about patterns on clothing.
  • Understanding of the world- Developing and learning about her role within the family, for example, it is now her job to find her clothes, but if she needs help Mum and Dad are always there. Learning about her body and which items of clothing goes where.
  • Expressive arts and design- Creating her own style, learning about what items of clothing she feels go together. Designing her own outfit.
What could be done next?
  • Label boxes that contain toys etc, so that the independence can continue with in the playroom.
  • Have a spotty, stripey or different colour day, so that your child can try and pick out the clothes to match the theme.
  • Once the clothes have been washed, ask your child to help you put them away. This is a great sorting activity and will also be helpful for you.


  1. Brilliant idea... and i can strongly advise that this really works x

    1. Thank you Michelle, sometimes I feel like my house is turning into a Nursery, But if it helps, we don't mind :-)