Helping your child dress themselves

Bubble Dress

Image by arlyna via Flickr

Good Morning,

Welcome to Monday.  This week I will be providing quick tips and tricks to help with some of the most frustrating aspects of raising kids.  Today’s blog supplies some simple tricks to help your child get dressed faster and with less fuss.

In 1972 an ingenious children’s clothing line was started and changed the way moms dressed their kids.  Garanimals paired shirts and pants so that kids could easily and quickly pick out an outfit, saving time, money and headache for millions of families across the country.  Here are some easy ideas on how to make your own Garanimals and some other equally helpful tricks.

Organize clothing

  1. Wash all clothing
  2. Put into groups based on clothing type (pants, shirts, sweaters, socks, etc.)
  3. Identify 2 colors that are the base colors for the entire wardrobe (usually black and brown)
  4. Put clothing into groups based on their base color (do they go with black or brown?)
  5. Set aside clothes that can go with either base color

Select a method
Once you have your piles of clothes sorted by base color, it is time to label them for your child to easily put together.  There are a few different ways of doing this.

  • Take a permanent marker and place an identifying mark, like a dot, on the tag or collar of all shirts in a given base color.  Place the same mark on all pants that create an outfit.  I would recommend a black marker and another color that a child can easily differentiate.  You child can look at the dots and quickly pick out clothes that match.
  • I just came across printable iron-on transfer paper.  This stuff is amazing!  I purchased mine at Hobby Lobby, but I am sure you can find it at other craft stores or online.  To use this method, print out a small word or shape and iron it onto the piece of clothing in a hidden location (the inside hem, tag, etc.).  Here, the options are limitless.  Depending on your child’s interests you can use what ever pictures they want.  Pirates and dragons, princesses and fairies, cats and dogs, Dora and Diego, etc.
  • If marking clothes does not work for you, consider labeling the drawers or shelves.  The same ideas apply.  Put all base groups of clothing that belong together in the same drawer or on the same shelf.  You can even add socks and hair accessories.
  • If clothes are hung up in a closet, use different colored hangers to show the matching clothes.
  • For clothes that go with either base color, keep them together and have a shelf or drawer for them as well.  Do not label these.

Tips for Making it Work

  • Have all clothing easily reachable by your child
  • Put clothing away correctly every time
  • Be creative with the labels.  Have your child pick the identifiers that will work for them.
  • Get your child involved.  Have them sort the clothing into groups, pick a label, and a spot to mark.  If you are using the transfer paper, have them cut out the shapes and pair it with the groups of clothes.
  • Only put out clothes that fit, are in good condition, and are seasonally appropriate.  Keep out-of-season clothes in a box or where your child cannot get them confused with the wearable clothes.  Get rid of torn, stained, and too-small clothing right away.
  • Talk to your child about the new system.  Help them, if necessary, by redirecting and encouraging them to use the new system when they are struggling to get dressed.
  • Be patient.  New systems and routines take time to settle in.  Your child may need reminding of what to do or where to look to match clothes.  Reward them when they have the hang of it and are getting dressed in less time and with less struggle.

Any organizing system will take some time and effort upfront.  Make this a fun activity for you and your child to do together on a lazy or cold afternoon.  Re-evaluate and re-mark clothing every season or when your child gets new clothing (holidays, birthdays, etc.).

More great ideas from around the web:

Super bag idea from Beth at Organizing Junkie
Lots of great tips at eHow Family
Easy to follow strategies at How to be a Good parent
Harry at Plastic Storage Bins has some great storage solutions

Good Luck,



One thought on “Helping your child dress themselves

  1. Pingback: Closet Organization for Children

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