Is your child getting ready to enter Preschool or Kindergarten this year? Learning how to get dressed independently is a BIG milestone. Look at the checklist below to see which skills your child may need work on.
Shoes – Lift up the tongue or flap of the shoe, open the shoe, put foot in, and push the heel down into the shoe. With the invention of velcro closures, shoe tying is not a mandatory skill for entrance to Kindergarten in many locations, but it is still an important developmental milestone. To make tying easier, use Wikki Stix as a lace in an old shoe! The bows stick together so the children can concentrate on the loop!
Socks -Try to choose socks that have a different colored heel and toe. It will help your children determine correct foot placement inside the sock. Many children get what we call “the sock thing” around the time they enter Preschool or Kindergarten. Either the seam doesn’t fit just right across the toes, the sock is too long or too short, or the sock just “feels funny!” Almost EVERY parent struggles with the “sock thing” at one time or another. Allow ample time for socks and let your child practice!
Pants – Putting on pants is just…HARD. How many times have we pulled TWO legs out of ONE pant leg hole:) Pulling up the BACK is the second most difficult skill. It helps to have the children practice reaching around to the small of their back or their bottom. Have the children play a game where they touch their own back/bottom with alternating hands. Most young kids will think it’s a FUNNY game, especially when it comes to…BOTTOMS!:) Making sure that pants are not TOO tight will help when kids are learning to pull them up.
SNAPS – They are NOT made the same! Snaps come in all varieties of difficulties, even within the same BRAND. Have your child go with you when shopping for school clothes. See if your child can do the snap independently, if not, don’t buy them for now. Have young children practice snaps wherever you can find them around the house. If you have a pair of pants at home that your child cannot snap, pull them out and leave them in the playroom for awhile. It just takes practice!
ZIPPERS – Practice is the only way a young child can learn this skill. Set out book bags, pencil holders, and clothes. Playing dress-up is a great way to get young children interested in “zipper practice.” Encourage the children to use one hand to stabilize as the other hand pulls the zipper. Unzipping is easier and should be practiced first. Watch tiny fingers and other body parts as they sometimes get “zipped up” in the process…OUCH!:(
BUTTONS – If you have old buttons around the house, gather them and cut a slot in the top of a margarine tub. Have the children practice picking up buttons of different sizes and inserting into the slot. When your child has mastered picking up even the smallest buttons, begin to practice with loose holes and medium to large buttons. If you have an old shirt with buttons, cut the hole so it is bigger and let your child practice. Vertical holes are easier that horizontal holes. Progress to smaller buttons as your child gains confidence. There are many commercial “buttoning” frames, but you can recycle many household clothing items for this important skill.
GOOD LUCK to you AND your child!