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Dressing Supports and Resources for Children

Dressing independently is something that almost every child learns at some point. 

There are many children (and teens) who really struggle with this process for a variety of reasons.

Some children need extra dressing supports.

They may struggle with coordination and fine motor tasks.

Others may have a hard time with sensory experiences related to clothing.

There are others who struggle with organizing clothing and the sequence of dressing.

Today I'm sharing our favorite dressing supports for kids!

Many of these children are on the autism spectrum or have ADHD.

Dressing Supports and Resources for Children

Dressing Supports and Resources for Children

The desire to dress one's self may come very early for some children.

Others may lack the desire to attempt or follow through with the process.

We have found that the Montessori provides the easiest and most realistic approach to dressing, no matter what age the child is.

Here are some of our favorite Montessori dressing resources.

Montessori Dressing Resources for Kids

Montessori Dressing Resources for Kids

These Montessori dressing resources cover everything one could think of when it comes to the process of introducing dressing to babies, toddlers, and children.

If your child or teen struggles in the area of dressing, it's okay.

No matter their age, these tips work based on their development.

Montessori Tips for Self-Dressing from Montessori in Real Life

Independent Dressing at 2.5 Years Old from How We Montessori

5 Tips to Teach Your Toddler How to Dress Themselves from The Montessori Room

Nicole from The Kavanaugh Report has multiple dressing resources on her site. Some of my favorites include:

Montessori Toddler-Starting to {Un}dress

Starting to Dress-Montessori Baby Week 49

The Montessori Coat Flip

Practical Life-Buttoning

The Montessori Method also provides dressing frames to help children learn how to button, buckle, snap, tie and more!

One can use clothing and other resources to practice these skills as well, but we've found the dressing frames to be super helpful.

Once a child progresses to tying shoes, there are a variety of ways to teach this skill. 

Be sure to check out the link below for multiple resources.

Shoe Tying Tips and Resources

Shoe Tying Tips and Resources

But what do you do if your child can technically dress herself, but still struggles with the process of dressing each day?

Our youngest has been able to dress herself since she was eighteen months old.

She LOVES clothes.

However, the process of dressing  and taking care of clothing are difficult for her because of her struggles with executive functioning skills related to her autism and ADHD.

Here's what we did to help her!

How to Fold Clothes for Kids

The first step was teaching Sunshine how to fold and take care of her clothing. 

This took time, but with the resources below it went well!

Learning How to Fold Clothes from The Global Montessori Network

Montessori Practical Life: Folding Clothes from The Pinay Homeschooler

Next came organizing her clothing.

Sunshine has always needed about ten outfits to get through a week, even if I'm washing laundry twice during that time period.

She's messy.

Sometimes she has accidents.

I've never met a child so rough on her clothes before.

Keeping track of that many outfits, or even a few outfits can be extremely difficult for her.

For this reason, we decided to create a clothing chart.

What Will I Wear Today? Chart

Sunshine does extremely well with visuals. 

The first step to creating her chart was her modeling each and every one of her outfits for me.

This process was so enjoyable to her.

Sunshine posed in different ways, making different facial expressions in each picture related to the outfit she was wearing and what it meant to her. 

Creating a What Will I Wear? Chart

In the photo above, Sunshine is being a leopard, because she's wearing a leopard print shirt.

Below she is making a heart with her fingers just like the one on her shirt.

Creating a What Will I Wear? Chart

Once all of the photos were taken, I created the What Will I Wear? Chart.

What Will I Wear? Chart

This chart has been so helpful in so many ways.

When it comes to folding and taking care of laundry, Sunshine matches up tops and bottoms shown in the pictures.

All she has to do is grab an outfit from the shelf under her bed and she's good to go.

The chart can be used to keep track of what is dirty and clean.

When it's time to get dressed, she's able to look at her chart and pick out her outfit all on her own.

How to Organize a Montessori Wardrobe

There are so many ways to organize clothes!

Once again, I'm partial to the Montessori way of doing things. It just makes so much sense.

You can read about it in the resource below.

But what happens if hangers are too difficult to use? 

What if they aren't safe?

What if you need more clothes than the Montessori option provides for realistic reasons?

Sunshine needed more. 

Trying to pick out a top, bottom, underwear, and socks was just too much for her. 

So, we invented the cubby solution below.

Clothing Cubbies for Kids

Sunshine has eighteen cubbies, enough  for seven pair of pajamas, two bathing suits (she swims at least once a week while at home), and nine outfits including two dresses. 

Each cubby, including ones with pjs, contains a top, bottom, underwear, bra, and socks. 

In the winter I also include a sweatshirt, as Sunshine enjoys them so much and uses them daily.

This cubby system provides a one step solution when getting dressed, which means she is much more successful.

Sunshine still uses her chart. Together we put the folded contents in each cubby.

I love that she can see everything and pick out clothing items herself.

If she was younger, I'd probably have only nine cubbies, so as not to overwhelm.

Montessori-inspired Self-Care: Dressing Printable Pack

Montessori-inspired Self-Care: Dressing Printable Pack

We don't usually have arguments about what to wear in the winter or summer, but the spring and fall can be challenging.

Some days are hot.

Some days are cold.

The Self-Care: Dressing Printable Pack helps with this conflict as it provides everything we need to understand what clothes to wear with each temperature. 

It also provides opportunities for children to follow step-by-step directions when getting dressed to play in the snow, along with how to tie a tie for those who choose to wear them.

There are so many steps included in learning how to dress and take care of clothing. 

We hope you find these resources helpful and that they make the process of dressing more pleasant and enjoyable for all.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the resources below.

What I Wish I'd Known When My Child was Diagnosed with Autism 4 Reasons Children Struggle with Table Manners How to Help a Child with Constipation FREE Toilet Training Visual Supports for Kids Physical Boundaries and Consent for Kids Morning and Bedtime Routine Visuals and Supports Chores and Practical Life Visuals and Supports Outdoor Visuals and Supports Meal and Snack Time Visual Schedules and Supports for Kids

Dressing Supports and Resources for Children

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