When considering your child's readiness, assess his belongings and self care skills. Are they a good match? Easy is the key word, but you’ll want to work to familiarize him with more complicated fasteners and cuts from time to time.
FastenersWhen it comes to fasteners, practice makes perfect. Some parents look to dressing books, dolls or toys to increase their kids’ exposure to zippers and snaps.
Others let their kids destroy the closet. Ahem, aside from the mess, I don’t mind that my preschooler wears multiple outfits each day. She's developing her personal style, and all those changes are paving the way for easier mornings come school time.
Tools to grow on:
- Buttons Begin with the button halfway through the hole and get your child to help you push it through. Big buttons and generous holes will make the lesson easier.
- Zippers Zipping up is the tricky part, especially when a connector is involved. Increase your child's confidence on pants and bags before moving on to more intimidating jackets.
- Snaps Snapping is a pretty simple concept, but kids need to work up the strength to push the sides together. Lots of practice, and other fine motor activities like coloring and gluing, will help him get there.
TopsLoose cotton tops with generous neck and arm openings make for minimal struggle. Front designs will help him know when he's got everything turned the right way.
BottomsEasy removal is key for potty-trainers, and even seasoned pottiers can get caught up in the excitement of the classroom and wait a little longer than they should to head to the bathroom. Make the rush easier on them by opting for elastic waistbands on pants and shorts. Be mindful of long ribbons and sashes on dresses, which can take a dip if not carefully held up. With the youngest girls, look to shorter dresses or separates that won’t get in the way.
OuterwearThe loose arms of coats, jackets and hoodies can be awkward for preschoolers. The unconventional coat trick method empowers young children.
The Coat Trick: Lay your child’s open coat on the floor, with the inside facing up. Have her stand at the neck of the coat, bend down to slide her arms into the sleeves, then raise them to flip the coat over her head. Ta-da!
- Easy On, Easy Off Shoes should be sturdy, supportive, and easy to get on and off. Teach kids to scrunch their toes, wiggle in, and pull up on the heel.
- School Rules Many preschools require closed toes and rubber soles. Some request students bring a pair of shoes to leave in the classroom. These should be comfortable and easily changed.
- The Right Foot Get shoes on the right feet with insole stickers. Teach your preschooler to keep the stickers close together, or look for shoe labels with split shapes that kids match up.
To reduce hassle, avoid buckles and ties for everyday shoes -- once kids are around four, keep a pair of laced shoes in the mix and begin tying lessons.