As adults we use to see dressing ourselves like a daily routine, an easy and natural gesture we do every day without thinking it through, but for kids dressing themselves can be a challenging activity at first.

Learning it, while they’re 2 or 3 years old, brings many benefits, because it helps them to become more independent and improve their fine motor and cognitive skills.

How to teach them? This can be hard for parents and requires a lot of patience, but don’t panic: follow these tips and you’ll make it!

1. Start with Removing

Before teaching your little ones how to put their clothes on, teach them how to take them off…this is easier for them. Try to do it while they’re more relaxed, around bath time or sleep time and use little metaphors to explain the mechanics of the activity, such us: “now we get socks off, let’s rolling up socks like an accordion”.

Make it a game and explain your toddler how to “play the accordion” while getting socks, he will be happy to try and learn!

2. Use elastic pants

Elastic pants, what a great invention!  They’re easier to put on and off and they can be a good starting point when kids learn to dress themselves. When they become confident with elastic pants, then you can gradually introduce them to buttons. These could be very complex because it requires advanced motor skills, so you can help them improve their coordination and motor skills through some play-activities.

By the way, did you know that construction play helps develop motor skills? Well, it’s time to build the greatest marble path for a happy marble run with Hape Cliffhanger!


This game also helps children think outside the box and make decisions based on what they learn or see.

3. Push arms through sleeves

This is one of the easiest steps to achieve: encourage kids to do it alone. Place the shirt over their head and ask him to stretch their arms into the sleeves. As usual, play can help you make this activity very fun: open the head hole and make it a peek-a-boo window, so that they can follow the hole and push his head through.

4. Sit down and use mirrors

Let your children sit when wearing bottoms like pants, socks or shoes. This way they can focus on their activity without thinking to balance. To help them fine tuning measures, also, put your kids in front of a mirror.

This not only will help them understand the method, but also get confidence with their physicality.

Regarding this, you can use rhymes and songs but also playing with dolls helps them learn parts of body, a very useful way to help them understand how to put on and take off dresses and shirts.


5. A little help to distinguish front and back

Distinguishing the front and back of clothes seems easy for us, but it isn’t at all for kids. Usually, we talk about tags being at the back of clothes but unfortunately many clothes are tagless, so this cannot be a sure indicator of the back.

To help kids you can provide them with clothes with prints of happy figures of animals or objects so that you can tell them to always put figures on the front. This way they can also learn new words and expand their vocabulary!

There are many benefits for your kids when they learn how to dress themselves, they’re simple gestures that make them grow so fast! If you’re looking for happy ways to teach your kids to dress themselves, play and music are the best, as usual!

Use rhymes and happy songs to help kids remember the needed steps of their activity and make it fun choosing pairing colors, as they like most.

Play is such a powerful tool to learn, don’t you think? Take a look to all educative Hape toys on Hape website and choose your favourite!