Strategies for getting four 5 year-olds to dress themselves?

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  1. Moon Daisy profile image72
    Moon Daisyposted 11 years ago
    I am looking after my daughter and her three friends for the afternoon, and taking them to another friend's party.  We will be in a big hurry as the party is just after school.  So I will need them to change into their party clothes extra-quick! 

    From previous experience these children would rather play, jump around and mess about than get dressed.  I have had reasonable success with the rule "you don't get any cake until you are dressed", but this time they will be eating at the party!

    What would you do?

  2. Moon Daisy profile image72
    Moon Daisyposted 11 years ago

    (...Besides yelling).  Suggestions of getting-dressed games and that kind of thing most welcome!

  3. Pearldiver profile image70
    Pearldiverposted 11 years ago

    At that age you must make the experience a game that achieves the desired result.

    big_smile  Try 'Reverse Strip Poker' where all red 3s, 7s, 10s mean that when they are turned up... it is compulsory that do a dressing task.  Or ask them and use their own favorite numbers and have a prize.

    sad  The downside of this is that they will like this so much that they'll show a lot of interest in your wardrobe... especially your shoes and makeup!  big_smile

    1. Moon Daisy profile image72
      Moon Daisyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks Pearldiver, I agree things have to be fun for this age-group, otherwise they have zero appeal!  And that sounds like a very innovative game.  I might try that one when we have a bit more time. 

      I'm going to be looking after those children again, taking them to classes after school, so I will probably use several of these suggestions!

  4. profile image0
    Emile Rposted 11 years ago

    Well, with that age group I always found that a race of sorts motivated. Any task they didn't want to do, I'd bet them I could count to a certain number before they could finish. I always suggested a low number, let them negotiate a better number, and then we'd start.

    1. Moon Daisy profile image72
      Moon Daisyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Great suggestion Emile R, thanks.  I did get them to race to get ready, and it worked well.  (Although one child had a clear advantage as she had fewer clothes to put on!)

      I will probably try the counting to a certain number next time I look after all these kids.  Counting is an excellent motivator.  I count to see how long it takes my daughter to brush her teeth, and she loves it (and is faster!)  She now wants me to time her for everything.

  5. Lisa HW profile image61
    Lisa HWposted 11 years ago

    I'd probably do one of the following:

    Either have a separate (and uninteresting) place for each child to go to, hand them their stack of clothes and say, "Go there, and put these on as quickly as you can, because we need to get to the party as soon as possible." (Leaving more than one five-year-old in the same room with a bunch of clothes, and hoping they get dressed quickly, probably won't cut it.)

    Or, I'd tell them all we had to get to the party quickly; so we were going to see who could get dressed the most quickly.  I'd then have them all line up, and tell them we were going to have a race to see who could dressed the fastest.  I'd whip out the shirts and hand them to each kid, keep telling them how great each of them was doing with their "race", and keep feeding the clothing items to them as each kid finished with each piece.  I'd keep saying stuff like, "Wow, what a race team you all make."  (Five-year-olds aren't likely to really separate the the difference between "racing each other" (and competing) and "being a race team".  They know a race involves speed, and that's kind of it. 

    Or else, I'd get the clothes all ready ahead of time and in one place and in piles.  I'd tell the kids "we" needed to be "speed dressers", so get in line.  Then I'd just pop the shirts, dresses and/or pants on each kid as quickly as possible.  From what I've heard, even fashion models have people assist with getting some clothing on in the interest of time.  It wouldn't mean "making a baby out of" a five-year-old just in the one instance of needing to be as fast as possible. I'd have them get in line for a hair-combing (and the adding of any hair accessories) once the clothes were on.

    I don't know how good any of these approaches would be, but they're the best I can come up with.  hmm  I just know that either divide-and-conquer or else hands-on, assembly-line-style, supervision are most likely to get the fastest results.

    1. Hollie Thomas profile image60
      Hollie Thomasposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      You could also try setting a time limit and suggest if the group can get ready within a specified time period (say five minutes) they'll be rewarded with something like an extra story at bedtime or get to stay up five minutes later or something like that.

      1. Moon Daisy profile image72
        Moon Daisyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I like the treat idea.  Similar to my bribing with cake smile  But probably a bit healthier, and reward sounds better than bribe.

        Maybe as there are four of them, it might also work to make it a group reward, and say if they can all get dressed within five minutes, they can all do something nice.  Get them to work together, and speedily!  Thanks.

        1. Hollie Thomas profile image60
          Hollie Thomasposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Yes, I meant all of them, although the terms would have to be negotiated with other parents. smile

    2. Moon Daisy profile image72
      Moon Daisyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks for all of your suggestions, they are fab!

  6. leahlefler profile image96
    leahleflerposted 11 years ago

    The race strategy is probably the best - my five year old responds pretty well to this (he's pretty competitive to begin with, though). I'll set the timer for 2 minutes and he'll try to get dressed before the timer goes off - he loves this game (I always make sure I set the timer so that there is sufficient time for him to complete the task, but not so long that he has time to dawdle).

    Lisa's assembly line is a good idea, too - when we're in a hurry, I often dress our kids so that it isn't a hassle!

    1. Moon Daisy profile image72
      Moon Daisyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Well I love the idea of a timer.  I've used my phone timer before with my daughter to try to get her to hurry in the morning, but it's usually more of a threat; "if you're not ready by the time this goes off I will not be happy.."  kind of thing.  Making it more of a fun game is a much better strategy, and I will try it.  Very thoughtful with the timing too.

  7. sofs profile image74
    sofsposted 11 years ago

    With my kids it always worked when I made it sound like a grown up task.. five is actually pretty easy to handle. Both my boys would make their own beds and do most of their own work.. it is after they grew older that I had to straighten them out. LOL smile

    1. Pearldiver profile image70
      Pearldiverposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      big_smile big_smile

      So your water torture methods worked sofs?

      Aren't hoses wonderful teaching instruments? smile

      1. kirsib profile image63
        kirsibposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Wow my kids ALWAYS love dressing up, they could get changed 10 times a day if I let them... my girls that is. They are now 8 and 10 but especially to "get pretty" was never ever an issue. Maybe I'm just lucky?

        1. Moon Daisy profile image72
          Moon Daisyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Ah, you were quite lucky!  Although some of the kids do like dressing up.  But I think it's the distraction issue that's the problem.  Getting dressed is boring compared to climbing behind the sofa and doing crazy dancing.  (Not my opinion, theirs).

      2. sofs profile image74
        sofsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        LOl I dont torture them.. but they know it when I mean something.. 'you are grounded' is enough top put some fear into them.. now of course my older one is past all that .. the most well behaved teenager in town.. my little one needs some of that medicine every now and then.
        BTW hosing them down means wastage of water and we don't have much here.. LOL

    2. Moon Daisy profile image72
      Moon Daisyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, you're right both my daughter and her friends respond well when treated in a more grown-up way.  I guess it's good to get them doing those tasks while they're keen to do them.  (I'm not looking forward to those teenage years!)


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