Let's Get Dressed

Pave the way for independence and creativity with cool clothes that make it easy for kids to dress themselves.




Getting kids out the door on time for school can be a chore. By involving your child in selecting her own clothing, giving her choices the night before, and teaching her how to dress herself, you'll save time — and encourage her can-do attitude. These tips can help:

1. Have a kid-friendly closet: Hanging clothes too high or using hard-to-reach drawers prevents your child from selecting an outfit on his own. Lower the closet rods and use the bottom drawers for items like underwear and socks. Keep out-of-season items or rarely worn clothes in the harder-to-reach places.

2. Break it down: Show your child how to get dressed. Offer help if she needs it, and encourage her to do the rest. You might pull the dress over your daughter's head, but she puts her arms in the sleeves. More simplifiers:

  • Draw a smiley face on the inside of each sneaker so they "kiss" when the shoes are put on the correct feet.

  • Do the "jacket flip." Place the jacket on the floor with the inside facing up. Stand so that the hood is in front of your feet. Reach down, put both hands into the sleeves, and flip the jacket over your head.

  • Sit on the floor or a stool when putting on pants, socks, and shoes so that you don't have to balance on one foot.

  • Button and snap shirts from the bottom up.

  • Lay the shirt with the front down on the bed. When you pick it up, the tag will automatically be in the back when you put it on.

3. Let your child decide: Avoid morning power struggles by calmly stating, "After you get dressed, you can come and eat breakfast." Or, if you fight over clothing choices, offer two options that are acceptable to you: "You can wear the blue shorts or the striped skirt — you decide." It's best to select clothes at night!

4. Keep it simple. Forget buttons, zippers, and difficult closures. Elastic-waist pants and pullover t-shirts are much easier to put on. Buying clothes that are one size too big will also make dressing easier. Socks with fitted heels and shoes with Velcro instead of laces are easy-on necessities.

Just accept it. A red polka-dot dress with purple tights? Plaid pants with a striped shirt? Why not? The point is that your child is finally dressing herself. Don't crush her enthusiasm by being critical about her clothing choices. There will be plenty of time to teach fashion sense in the future.

Raising Kids
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