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Occupational Therapy Tips for Getting Your Child Dressed

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Getting your child dressed in the morning can be overwhelming for both you and your child. Picking out an outfit and changing out of comfy pajamas and into day clothes can make leaving the house on time a real challenge. Follow these tips to make getting ready a less stressful morning routine.

  1. Assist your child with picking and laying out his/her clothes the night before. You may have to check the clothing choices to make sure they are school appropriate. When picking out clothing, narrow the number of options. For example, only provide two outfits to choose from.
  2. Establish and stick to a morning routine, so your child knows what the expectations are each morning.
  3. Consider if your child understands how to put on and remove various types of clothing. Your child may experience anxiety because he/she does not understand how or has difficulty using the proper motor patterns to put on clothing (e.g. threading a leg in a pair of pants or an arm in a shirt). If your child has difficulty with motor planning and sequencing skills, he/she will have difficulty initiating and sequencing through the steps of dressing. Breaking down the task in small steps and providing demonstrations can help.
  4. Make sure your child goes to sleep at a consistent time and is getting enough sleep. This will help reduce the stress and anxiety your child may experience while dressing.
  5. Identify any sensory aversions your child may have towards certain fabrics or textures. Your child may resist dressing based on how he/she reacts to different fabric textures, seams and tags. You may find it beneficial to involve your child in shopping for new clothes, so purchases include clothes he/she is comfortable wearing.

    Over time, if your child is extremely averse to clothing, he/she may need services to help to work with sensory integration and processing skills.

With some pre-planning, establishing a morning dressing routine and breaking down dressing tasks into small steps, dressing in the morning will have you and your child feeling more at ease to welcome the day.

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