Dressing – Development of Dressing

1 ► Holds foot up for shoe, arm out for sleeve
► Likes to pull shoes and socks off
► Pushes arm through sleeves & legs through pants
► Puts own hat on
o Talk about what you are doing as you dress and undress your child
o Loose socks (i.e. elastic at the top) are easier
o Give your child time to perform tasks; avoid jumping in and doing everything for them.
2 ► Finds armholes in T-shirt
► Purposefully removes shoes (if laces untied)
► Helps push down garment (pants)
o A loose-fitting top may be easier 􀀁
o Avoid buying pants with tight elastic
o May need assistance over the hips initially if nappy is bulky.
2.5 ► Removes pull-down garment with elastic waist
► Tries to put on socks
► Unbuttons one large button
o Have your child sit down to pull pants over their feet once pants are over the hips
o Avoid socks that are too tight.
3 ► Puts on T-shirt, with some assistance
► Needs assistance to remove T-shirt
o Avoid t-shirts with a tight neck opening
o To take off, try crossing arms over at the hips, grasping the shirt, and pulling up to make the arms point straight to the sky.
► Puts on shoes (may be wrong foot)
► Puts on socks with difficulty turning heel
o Try marking all left or right shoes (e.g. with nail polish inside on the heel) and telling you child which foot the mark goes on.
o Identify with your child characteristics of shoes to help when putting them on (eg buckles go on outside, maker’s logo on outside, toes point to the middle).
o Purchase socks with different coloured toes and heels.
► Buttons large buttons with large holes BUTTONS
o Practice buttons and zips on pyjamas, teddies/dolls, and dress-ups
o When buying pyjamas, choose ones with large buttons and loose button holes.
► Able to use zipper ZIPPERS
Adapt zippers by adding a ring (curtain or key ring) or ribbon to small zipper attachments to make it easier to grasp and pull.
3.5 ► Finds front of clothing most of time FINDING THE FRONT!
o Look for clothes with the tag at the
o pants with a drawstring/zipper at the front,
o underwear with a decoration at the front.
► Snaps or hooks front fastenings
► Buttons series of 3 to 4 buttons
o If buttoning a shirt, line up the bottom hole and button first, then work upwards. When we’re learning, buttons outside visual range are more difficult to do up.
► Dresses with supervision PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
o Remember: be patient and give your child time – don’t jump in!
o Think about the dressing sequence: eg underwear first, then shirt, shorts, socks, and shoes. What will be the most logical order? For example, it will be easier for your child to tuck in a shirt if they put the shirt on first and then pull pants/skirt on over the hem of the shirt.
4 ► Removes pull-over garment by self
► Puts on socks – heel correct
► Puts on shoes – little assistance
► Laces shoes – practices with shoes off
► Consistently knows front and back of clothing
o Try socks with a contrasting colour on the heels
o Remind your child the buckle or velcro is on the outside of the shoe.
5 ► Puts on pull-over garments (e.g. T-shirt) by self
► Dresses unsupervised
o Teach the same method consistently
6 ► Ties a bow
► Does fastenings at the back (e.g. back zipper, back button, apron string, etc.)
o Decide on one method and use it consistently (i.e. – standard ‘one loop’ method or ‘bunny ears’ /two loop method).
7 ► Selects clothes appropriate for the weather o Discuss the weather before your child gets dressed. Discuss why a particular item of clothing may/may not be appropriate.


Reference: Dunn Klein, Marsha (1983) Pre-Dressing Skills Revised. Communication Skill Builders: Arizona.

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