AGE APPROPRIATE WINTER DRESSING FOR KIDS
Winter is here, and this season brings a whole new dimension to dressing children. Those winter jackets, mittens, hats, pants and boots provide a new challenge to children and adults, because often parents don’t know what appropriate expectations are regarding children dressing themselves. We know it is much easier to dress your child yourself to get out of the house quickly. Who has the time to wait while a child struggles with a coat? But having age-appropriate expectations and some strategies can assist you in helping your child become an independent dresser.
Dressing is a skill that comes in stages. Children should not be expected to independently dress at the age of two. As well, a four year-old should not expect an adult to do all the work for them. The ideal time to start children is when they are in the “I can do it myself” stage, around the age of 2 ½.
Early childhood educators can start by showing toddlers how to put on their coats by flipping them over their heads. This continues until about the age of four when children can begin to put on their coats one sleeve at a time. Zipping is a skill that requires children to have well developed fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination. Most children are not able to do this until about the age of four.
At younger ages adults should begin by inserting the zipper and having the children complete zipping. Eventually they can do it themselves. Children are given praise for trying as well as when they are successful. The look on a child’s face when they are finally successful is priceless.
When the weather requires snow pants and boots, we should have age-appropriate expectations. Preschool children can be successful when given the time and tools to learn. It is a lot of work to get on all those clothes and it is natural to want an adult to do it for them. At the same time, they are so proud when they can do it themselves.
A good strategy is to allow access to winter clothes during free-choice play time for practice. They think they are just playing dress-up but at the same time they have the opportunity to practice when everyone is not in a rush. As well, we also provide picture cues so they can learn the proper order to put on clothing. These strategies can be easily done at home when everyone is relaxed and not in a rush to get out of the house.
You can help your child by providing clothing that is easily put on and taken off. Zippers are easier than buttons. Pull on boots are easier than lace-up boots. Send your child to kindergarten with mittens instead of gloves if they are unable to put on gloves independently. Imagine the frustration from all involved as teachers help a classroom full of children get all those fingers into gloves!
Becoming independent is so important to a child’s self-confidence. When they accomplish difficult tasks their confidence in themselves increases. Working together we can help children learn the skills that will foster independence and self-esteem.
Article by http://www.swcdc.org/