The topic of dressing independently has been suggested to me as a bundle theme more than once. Because school is back in session, I figured I’d kick off this blog post with some related tips and tricks to try out at home for those interested in getting their young children started on the self-dressing track. Of course, also included below are a few fun picture book suggestions that may help your toddler explore independence, as it relates to getting dressed too!

Tips to Get Your Toddler Excited About Dressing Independently:

Join your child in selecting their next day outfit as part of your bedtime routine. This will not only limit their choices and time spent deciding in the morning, but will also get them excited for the day to come. This is helpful because you are not only integrating the subject into their routine but you will be chatting about their getting ready process without the pressure of actually watching them get dressed (which can often be frustrating to watch as a parent).

Create an inviting “dressing” area. Line up their clothing in an appealing way, one that is neat and easily accessible. Perhaps develop a song or leave a checklist for you and your toddler to work through as they get dressed.

Break down the task (and start small). There are a ton of components to getting dressed, which all require your child to have different skills. I would suggest starting small. Start with underwear or pull-ups and work your way up to pants, then shirts, etc.

Avoid corrections. If your child puts their shirt on backwards, but worked hard for 15 minutes to get it on at all, let it go. Keep their confidence high and get out the door – who really cares if their shirt is the wrong way anyway!?

Favorite Books About Getting Dressed:

1. Fred Gets Dressed by Peter Brown

Written by Peter Brown, a New York Times Best Selling author, “Fred Gets Dressed” is about a boy who loves to run around naked and loves to play dress-up in his parents’ closet. He spends his day trying on different outfits - first from his dad’s closet and next from his mom’s. He’s inspired by her bright clothing and accessories, and he even dips into his mom’s makeup bag. That is, until he gets caught. This book is great for kids ages 2 – 5, and will encourage your children to view getting dressed as a form of independent play.

2. I Can Dress Myself by Bridget Krone

This (no words) picture book shows the journey of a small girl as she struggles, but succeeds, to get dressed independently while her mother is still sound asleep in her bed. Though the book is simple, without words this story allows you to create an entire tale with your toddler that reflects their life too. It’s perfect for ages 0-4 and models what it might be like to get dressed on your own.

3. Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes by Eva Chen

This book is a New York Times Best Seller and for good reason too! Juno Valentine embarks on an epic journey in search of her favorite shoes. While this fashion fairy-tale isn’t so much about the act of getting dressed, it is about feeling confident in what you choose to wear. This book is great for children ages 3 – 6 and as a bonus also includes a highlight of historically fierce independent women.