Child’s play: these 5 tricks will make dressing easier for your little one
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Child’s play: these 5 tricks will make dressing easier for your little one

Which shoe goes on which foot? And how on earth do you put on those rain trousers and wellies? Practice makes perfect. And these five hacks should make getting dressed just that bit easier.

Kids become world-class champs at undressing themselves in no time. As if by magic, the socks that were on the baby are suddenly lying next to them. And toddlers? They take off their jacket, jumper and trousers with decided dedication. Getting dressed, on the other hand, is more complicated, as it requires advanced fine motor skills. In younger kids, this can result in inside-out socks, undone flies and T-shirts with the print at the back instead of the front.

Depending on their developmental stage, kids gradually learn how to dress themselves between the age of two and three. At around four, or at the start of kindergarten at the latest, they’ll probably be able to manage most of it by themselves. The following five hacks aim to make the gargantuan task a little more manageable.

1. The shoe sticker trick

Children are quick to figure out how to put their shoes on. The only issue is knowing which shoe goes where. Given the fifty-fifty chance, my four-year-old daughter still regularly gets it wrong and runs off with what many Swiss kids call banana feet.

There’s a trick to remember which shoe goes where. If you put the shoes side by side, they should be «kissing» each other. However, because this «kiss» is very subtle, this hack hasn’t been a great help for us so far.

The tips of the shoes aren’t kissing, which means they’re the wrong way round.
The tips of the shoes aren’t kissing, which means they’re the wrong way round.
A hint of a kiss: that’s what shoes do.
A hint of a kiss: that’s what shoes do.
Source: Katja Fischer

The sticker trick has been way more effective. Cut a large sticker down the middle and stick each part on the heels of the inner soles. Before putting on her shoes, my daughter now has to solve a little puzzle.

Hello llama: first puzzle then shoes.
Hello llama: first puzzle then shoes.

2. Tying shoes with the help of rabbit ears

Tying shoelaces is challenging and takes some practice. Until your child’s nailed it, you’ll probably have gone through many pairs of Velcro shoes. But when the time has come, you can practise tying shoelaces with the help of a bunny story. First, tell your child to hold a shoelace in each hand and tie a simple knot. Next, it’s time to make a loop on one side. That’s the first rabbit ear. Then it’s time for the second ear on the other side. Last, both ears are tied together with a knot.

Make two rabbit ears ...
Make two rabbit ears ...
... and tie them together with a knot. Your shoes are ready to go!
... and tie them together with a knot. Your shoes are ready to go!
Source: Katja Fischer

3. The coat flip trick

The coat flip trick is probably the most famous hack to simplify getting dressed. Many of you will have heard about it at some stage. But how does it work again? Let’s refresh our memories: place the jacket on the floor with the lining facing upwards and the hood or collar facing your feet. Pop both your hands into the sleeves, lift the coat up and flip it over your head.

Slip into the jacket from the top, ...
Slip into the jacket from the top, ...
... flip it over your head. Done.
... flip it over your head. Done.
Source: Katja Fischer

That leaves the fiddly zip, which requires solid fine motor skills. With a zip extension, things are a tiny bit easier to manage. What’s more, you can get some practice in with this book.

4. The scrunch-up trick for stockings and socks

Admittedly, the following trick isn’t mind-blowing. However, just because we find something obvious as adults, doesn’t mean kids do. Take stockings, socks and leggings, for example. Scrunch them up, put your feet in and pull them up. Done.

Scrunch up first, ...
Scrunch up first, ...
... then put your foot in and pull. Simple, but not obvious.
... then put your foot in and pull. Simple, but not obvious.
Source: Katja Fischer

5. The firefighter trick for wellies and rain pants

Putting on rain trousers and wellies is really difficult for kids. Once the trousers are on, getting on the boots becomes even more challenging. Here’s where the firefighter trick comes in handy. To save precious time, firefighters pull their protective trousers their boots in preparation. Like this, they can practically jump into both in one go. Child’s play, right?

Do it like the firefighters and slip into your rain pants and shoes at the same time.
Do it like the firefighters and slip into your rain pants and shoes at the same time.
Source: Katja Fischer

Have you got more hacks to help kids get dressed? The Community and I would love to hear from you.

Header image: Shutterstock/lisa-skvo

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Mom of Anna and Elsa, aperitif expert, group fitness fanatic, aspiring dancer and gossip lover. Often a multitasker and a person who wants it all, sometimes a chocolate chef and queen of the couch.


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