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10 Ways To Get Your Toddler Dressed, Peacefully


Toddlers and clothes seem to repel each other, particularly when it comes to getting dressed in the morning. It can be a battle, right, mamas? With you in mind, we offer these 10 ideas for getting your little one clothed and ready for the day.

1. Make It Fun

a mom trying to dress her child

Little kids love fun and games. Why not challenge your toddler to a race to see who can get dressed first? Or grab their clothes and start dressing up their teddy bear instead, pretending not to know what you’re doing wrong? "Accidentally" putting their clothes on backwards is another sure way to get them giggling and wanting to fix the situation.

2. Use Reverse Psychology

a young girl wearing bunny ears looking upset

If your toddler is in the I Can Do It Myself phase, use this to your advantage by employing reverse psychology to the morning routine. Tell her you’re sure she can’t dress herself, no way. Keep repeating variations of this to egg her on and get her motivated to show mommy that yes, she can do it all by herself!

3. Warm Up Their Clothes

a mom doing some laundry

If it’s a chilly morning in your house, try tossing your little one’s clothes in the dryer or holding them in front of a warm vent for a couple of minutes. Then let your toddler feel the toasty clothes and get him excited to snuggle up inside them.

4. Let Them Choose

a young child trying to put on socks

Have a controlling type on your hands? Select a couple of outfit options for your toddler to choose from and let her pick out the day’s look. Keep the options limited so as to not overwhelm her with too many choices (and to prevent some seriously clashing outfits!)

5. Use An Incentive

a dad trying to dress his son

Like adults, kids respond to incentives for doing something. Let your little one know he has a special something – maybe a favorite breakfast item, TV show, or or a gold star on a behavior chart – waiting for him just as soon as he gets dressed. No clothes means no treat. And make him get dressed before he does any of his usual favorite morning things; i.e. tell him he can play with his trains for a few minutes but he has to get ready to go first.

6. Involve Them In Shopping

a mom walking with her toddler down a street

Your little one is much more likely to want to get dressed if she’s invested in her clothes. If she’s a little older, consider letting her pick some of them out; for younger kids try to select items that are both super-comfy and adorned with an image of something your little one loves, whether it’s a truck, a princess, a favorite cartoon character. If she’s still resistant to actually putting the clothes on her bod, you could make the picture “talk” to her about how much it wants to be worn that day and go on all the day’s exciting adventures with her.

7. Get Goofy

a dad adjusting his son's hat

Undies or pants on your head? Socks on your hands? Your toddler will stare at you with wild eyes while you calmly “dress” yourself with his clothes. After the initial shock wears off, he’ll probably want to reclaim what’s his. Have him show you the proper place on his body for each item, but pretend not to believe him, forcing him to show you by – voilá! – getting dressed!

8. Sing a Song

a young boy looking upset as his mom dresses him

Some little kids love their routine tasks set to a soundtrack, especially if they are silly songs. “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes” is a great getting-dressed song, or make up your own funny jingle.

9. Distract, Distract, Distract

a mom trying to dress her child

Take the focus off the task at hand and get your toddler busy thinking about or doing something else, be it playing with a favorite toy or looking out the window at all the neighbors walking their dogs, or really anything that will hold her attention for a few minutes. While she's otherwise occupied, quickly strip off her pajamas and cajole those tiny body parts into the outfit du jour.

10. Zone 'Em Out

a young boy sitting on a sofa with a tablet

If nothing else works and the clock is ticking, zoning out your 2-year-old or older in front of the TV or tablet is an acceptable modern-mom solution. Turn on his favorite show or open an app, then proceed to dress his limp, zoned-out body in the day’s gear. Hey, we know it’s not ideal, but we mamas have to choose our battles!

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