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Toddler Girls Clothing and Learning How To Dress Themselves

Updated on March 29, 2011

Who Says Everything Must Be Color-Coordinated?

What To Expect

Toddlers need to become independent and you as a mother will require a lot of patience and understanding to help your little girl achieve all the important milestones as easily and smoothly as possible. It is not going to be plain sailing.

You are dealing with a frustrated little girl who knows what she wants to do she just does not quite yet know how. Independent dressing is a slow learning process and you will need to allow your toddler girl to make her own choices, often not the most appropriate one. If you have the right approach to teaching your toddler girl to dress herself the mastering of this task will be a source of pride for your little girl instead of one of frustration.

When to Expect Your Little Girl To Show an Interest in Dressing Herself

Toddler's generally start undressing themselves between the age of 12 and 18 months. They will try to take off their socks and nappies and by the time they reach the age of two they can pretty well take off all their clothes. At this stage she will make dressing her easier by lifting her arms and legs to put on clothing.

By the age of two years old she may start trying to dress herself. This will depend on her level of proficiency at undressing herself as this precedes dressing herself. When she starts showing an interest in dressing herself you should guide her through the process allowing her the freedom to do attempt the various tasks of dressing without too much interference from you. She will however need your assistance in the beginning and a lot of patience. We all know that it is easier and quicker to dress your little girl herself but she needs to learn to become independent and the whole dressing process will improve her motor skills and will help her to think logically.

What You Can Do To Help

It will be worth your while to spend a little time each day teaching your little girl the easiest way to dress herself taking into consideration that their fingers are still very small and their balance not quite there yet. Never rush your child as they practice to dress themselves. In the beginning you may need to help him by half dressing them. Place her feet in the pants and let her pull them up or place the top over her head and allow her to figure out how to get her arms in the sleeves.

Many of the toddler girl clothing is purposely designed with no tags - to maximize comfort for your little girl. This can cause frustration as your little girl will not be able to identify the back of the garment. You can either mark the back with a small permanent ink mark or you can stitch a cross with bright colored thread at the back of the clothing.

Buy pants with elasticized waists, loose t-shirts and shoes with velcro fastenings. Look for zipped tops with pull-up tabs on the zippers or fasten key rings to the zipper making it easier for your little girls hands to grasp. Buy socks without heels as this will eliminate the need for her to figure out which way to put them on. Show your little girl how to put on her underwear, pants, skirts and socks while in a sitting position. She will come right much faster than trying to accomplish this in a standing position.

Teach your toddler girl to first pull her t-shirts or dresses over head and then put her arms through the sleeves. If the neck of the garment is tight stretch the neck slightly before giving it to her to put on. Teach her from an early age to grab and hold onto the hem of the sleeve of any long-sleeved underwear or t-shirts when putting on a sweater or jacket. This will prevent the underwear from shifting up on her arm and causing discomfort.

The Power of Choice

Your toddler girl will also start realizing that she has the power to make choices and will want to choose what clothing she wants to wear. If you have a large selection of toddler girl clothing you may want to limit her choices. You can do so by allowing her to make a choice between two sets of clothing. If you select sets that can mix and match at least she will look presentable irrespective of her choice and she will feel as though she has made the final decision on what she chooses to wear.

To make the task of selecting clothes easier you can put all the clothes that are easy to put on and suitable for her dressing attempts on the lowest shelf in her cupboard. Make the unsuitable clothes that you know she will have problems putting on inaccessible by placing them higher up or on hangers in the closet.

The More Advanced Phase of Toddler Girl Dressing

Between the ages of four and five years old your little girl will be ready to attempt for complicated dressing activities such as buttoning up cardigans, using zippers and tying her own shoelaces. It may be a good idea to buy her one of the specially designed dolls or fabric books that allow children to practice these more difficult tasks.

When your daughter progresses to the doing up buttons show her how to button up starting with the bottom button and working upwards. This improves her chances of getting the two pieces aligned properly. Buttons that are sewn on with elastic thread allows the buttons to go through the buttonholes more easily.

One Last Word!

Above all else enjoy your daughter and consider the challenges facing your little girl with each item of toddler girl clothing that you buy.


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    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Really useful tips there thanks

    • Hub Llama profile image

      Arctic Llama 

      11 years ago from Denver, CO

      Nice tips.


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