If Your 4-Year-Old Can’t Dress Himself, READ THIS!

Do you want your 4-year-old to dress independently?

Are you looking for a complete guide on how to train a 4-year-old to dress himself?

What could be more relieving for a mother when her children start to do their own stuff? Getting dressed by themselves is one of them.

For preschoolers, getting dressed by themselves has many benefits, especially when he starts school. First, it can lessen mom’s hassle in the morning. 

Besides the burden sharing, the child who knows how to dress also becomes responsible for his belongings.

But when we generally look at the dressing skills of a 4-year-old child, 90% of them need a lot of training to polish the skills. Mostly 4 -year-olds cannot dress themselves completely.

Teaching your 4-year-old child to dress up by himself seems like a huge task, but it is not that hard, it just needs consistency and patience.

Can a 4-year-old dress himself?

4-year-olds are still young to dress themselves completely, they still need parents’ assistance. For example. They can put on the pants but need assistance to button the pants. 

The 4th year of a child’s life is extremely overwhelming, a lot of changes happen in his life, for example, starting school, setting up the routine, potty training (for some kids), and much more. However, a lot of training and consistency can make a 4-year-old able to dress. 

little mouse gets ready

Typical 4-year-old dressing skills?

Here are the typical dressing skills of 4-year-olds. These show that they need a lot of training and patience to dress independently. 

  • Can undress completely except for unbuttoning.
  • Can put on the pants but need assistance to button them up.
  • Need assistance to start wearing t-shirts.
  • Can put on simple shoes but need assistance with tying the shoe laces.
  • Can put on the “upper” but cannot zip it.
  • Can wear pajamas but cannot tie them.
  • Can put on socks but not correctly.
  • Cannot button or unbutton shirts.
  • Cannot wear gloves properly.
  • Cannot wear the cap properly.
  • Cannot recognize the front and back of a clothing item.
  • Cannot connect jacket zippers and zip them up.
4-year-old can't dress himself

How do I get my 4-year-old to dress himself?

If you are so eager to get your 4-year-old to dress himself, you can teach him. Following is the list of things you can do to get your 4-year-old to dress.

By the end of these tips, I will list the dress-up dolls you can get now and train your little one easily. 

1- Set realistic expectations

Remember that you are training a 4-year-old child, the child will not learn to dress himself overnight. So keep your expectation realistic that it might take a long time to train the child to dress himself fully. 

Even after weeks of practice and training, your child might take your help with clothes he has not worn during the training.

2- Practice is the key

Practice makes the man perfect, just like dressing alone needs a lot of practice. 

It can only be done when you show the child how it is done. 

Refrain from training the child in rush hours, as he would not digest much information in less time. 

Be patient and calm while you teach the child how to dress. 

3- Start by removing the clothes

Removing the clothes is much easier than dressing up. 

Start with training the child to remove his clothes by himself. Also, when the child undress, the schedule is quite relaxed most of the time. 

So training at a comfortable time has more influence than doing it during rush hours.

4- Give him time when he is putting on the clothes

When I trained my child to dress himself, I started it from the bedtime routine. 

The bedtime routine is when parents and children are done for the day and are mostly in a relaxing mood. 

So encourage your child to put on the night suit slowly and assist him; for example, he might end up wearing the wrong side of the shirt or wear the pajama on the wrong side. Or he may take a lot of time to close only one button. 

Help him from time to time so he does not get frustrated in a few sessions.

5- Start with elastic bottoms

The best way to start the training is with elastic bottoms. Elastic bottoms are easy to pull on and off. May it be pants, shorts, or pajamas, start with an elastic waistband. 

Don’t put your child into the struggles of zippers, buttons, and buckles initially. 

Once the child learns to put on and off the bottom, slowly introduce him to buttons, zippers, sliding buttons, and buckles. 

6- Use oversized clothes for correct training

If you have oversized clothes lying in the cupboard, now is the time to take them out and use them during the training. You can offer him your t-shirt to practice wearing a “t-shirt.”

Oversized garments are easy to wear and have fewer hurdles to cross. Like while putting on the sleeves, the oversized shirt will not get stuck at the end of the opening, and the neck will not get stuck and pass easily through the opening.

The child may learn quickly to get dressed rather than learning on fitted clothes or difficult dresses.

4-year-old can't dress himself

7- Teach him about the Front and Back of clothes

Teaching the child about the front and back of clothes is very important. For example, point to the shirt’s tag and tell him that every shirt has a label on the back. 

Similarly, tell him that pants or pajamas also have them on the back. 

This information will help him recognize the right side; hence he will not get frustrated in deciding the sides of the clothes.

8- Encourage him to Button

Once the child gets used to wearing simple shirts, introduce the shirts with buttons and encourage him to do it himself. 

Have him start with the top, showing him how to match the button to a hole. 

Even if he mismatches some of them, he would at least understand how to put the button in the loops. 

You can start with large buttons and loops as it will be easier for the child to grab with the fingers. This can improve his fine motor skills.

9- Set the clothes in order

A little assistance will not only makes the child perfect but also participative in the activity. You can set the clothes in order when he starts dressing. 

Assist him in his weak areas where you think he would get confused or frustrated.

10- Practice getting dressed when relaxed

Refrain from training a child under pressure; he will either learn it very late or quit it with tantrums. So when you start his training regarding dressing yourself, do it when you and your child are not in a hurry.

11- Ask your child to sit down for balancing tasks

Ask your child to sit down when wearing pants or shoes and socks because these tasks need balance, which is hard for a 4-year-old. 

By sitting, he can focus on wearing the right side of the clothes and not worry about balance.

For shoes, the child may find it easy to wear the sliders, but for shoes with laces, he needs to sit down and do the task. 

12- Store clothing at accessible places

Place your child’s clothes in reachable places, so he can take them out whenever needed. Put all the night clothes in a separate drawer and ask the child to take out his sleepsuit.

In this way, the child can choose whatever he wants to like and gives self-confidence within.

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13- Get a wall-sized mirror in your child’s room

The dressing turns out to be better when you look at yourself in the mirror. So get a wall-sized mirror in your child’s room in which he can look while he dresses up. It will help in coordination and balancing.

14- Get dress-up dolls

Children learn many things when they do “pretend and play.” They constantly learn things even when they are playing with toys. Getting your child into dress-up dolls will help strengthen their physical fine motor skills.

When the child dresses up the doll, he gets a grasp on tiny buttons and how to cross the arms and legs of the doll through the clothes. Likewise, doing pretends and playing with dolls helps the child learn how to dress himself.

It can also help develop styling skills in the child. They can know what outfit needs what accessories and color combinations will go with it. Dressing the dolls also build confidence in children.

1-  Blippi Get Ready and Play Plush 

Who doesn’t love Blippi these days? This ready-and-play plush Blippi doll is what you need to train your child to dress independently.

This Blippi doll has some really cool features. The child can dress and undress the doll. It can help the child learn how to tie shoes, button and unbutton the shirt, zip, unzip and remove the vest, and wear socks and shoes.

2-  Playskool Dressy Kids 

This Plush Stuffed Doll by Playskool is so much fun to be at a pre-schooler home. It is a must-have if you want your child to practice how to dress up. It has five activities: zipping up and down, locking the pockets, opening and closing the buttons, and tying the shoe laces. Also, you can tag this doll along the bag or stroller.

Dress Up StoryBook:

Use the help of storybooks to teach your 4-year-old how to dress himself.

1- Little Mouse Gets Ready: Toon Book:

In this story, a mouse dresses himself to go out with his mother and siblings. The cute illustrations will make the child want to follow along.

little mouse gets ready

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