Getting ready in the morning can cause frustration for both parent and child as we hear the all too familiar ‘Hurry up we are going to be late!!’ I can’t do the zip-up, I can’t put the button through, sound familiar?
Most parents recognize that life would be a lot easier, especially with 2 or 3 kids if they could teach them efficiently to become better at their functional skills. When we can teach our children to manage these tasks and incorporate it into play we can keep our children engaged and interested longer. The ability to dress yourself builds real confidence for a child, a sense of independence and achievement and once they have mastered it there will be no going back. It takes patience persistence and practice from both parent and child. So, remember if your child is having trouble, even though it will be tempting to jump in, just give them a little time to try themselves, sometimes just that little bit of frustration is what pulls them through to the end result of succeeding. The more you can teach your children the name of the types of clothes they are wearing, and what they need to do, meaning, standing on one leg to put a pair of pants on, or holding steady as they pull a button through will all help.

Follow Through:

    • Choose the right time, and especially where there is no pressure to fasten up quickly. Technique takes time and with practice your child will get quicker at achieving such.


    • Shadow assistance will enable your child in what to do. So, by gently putting your hands and fingers over theirs and gently assisting them helps then to manage the process involved.


    • Verbal prompts will need to be short and sweet and consistent with each step of achieving the particular function and skill. For example, push and pull.


    • Backwards tracking is a great way to encourage your children’s motivation. For example, pulling up the zipper on their jacket before they have learned to insert the clasp before zipping.


    • Modeling the task at hand allows us to show the child, narrating through each step demonstrated.


    • Practice, practice, practice, makes perfect.


    • Show your child without it being on them first so your child can see it from a different angle.


    • Lots of variety keeps it interesting. It could be on your child’s rucksack or on one of their sibling’s clothes or even a zip-lock bag or an adult beach bag.

NOTE: The more your child had the opportunity to practice their functional skills the better they will become in practicing this skill that requires then to be focused and thorough. Most children from an early age are motivated through their own desire to become more independent at an early age. So make sure you praise your children for their efforts whilst learning the skill.

Copywritten by Jo Frost

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