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Starting to {Un}dress - Montessori Young Toddler Week 17

I think the most common phrase this week around my house has been "where's your shoe?" Every time I've turned around this week, Gus is working on taking some part of his clothes off. Whether it's unzipping his coat, removing his shoes, pushing down his pants (in public - haha!), or pulling off his shirt, Gus has learned that he has the power to decide what's on his body! 

Supporting early attempts at dressing and undressing with your Montessori toddler

It's a fantastic phase that I remember loving with the older kids too. It's suddenly a burst of independent activity, and one that becomes really useful later on! So, even though it can sometimes be a little more work for me, I don't discourage his attempts. And, I allow for these important skills to develop. These are the building blocks that Gus will use to dress himself later on.

I do a few things to support these early attempts at dressing and undressing. If you have a young toddler, or any child interested in working on this important skill, you may consider:

Provide easy clothing

You won't find Gus is a lot of clothes with extra buttons, snaps, collars, whatever (at least not at this age). Cute and comfortable clothing that provides chances for success are high on my list of supporting this stage of independence. As he gets older providing natural opportunities to work on buttons and snaps will become more important and I will add those into his wardrobe.

Supporting early attempts at dressing and undressing with your Montessori toddler

Invite participation 

Always offer opportunities to participate in dressing and undressing. Simply giving your child a verbal cue that it is time to get undressed to bathe, or time to take off pjs and get dressed can invite your child to participate. And, I do mean directly invite them to participate, not simply giving an order to undress. "It's time to get undressed. Could you take off your shoes?" Give them a minute or two to process what you are asking. Gus isn't quite at the power struggle age, but offering a choice will eventually help to ward them off. "Its time to get undressed. Would you like to take off your shirt or your shoes first?" Or something like that! 

Supporting early attempts at dressing and undressing with your Montessori toddler

Don't Interrupt 

Start to shift your thinking about this type of work, and value it as important as anything else your child could be doing. So if you wouldn't interrupt or intervene while your child is using working with a toy, then don't interrupt if your child is trying to take off a shoe, coat, or pants. Give your child time, the struggle is essential! If Gus were to ask for help, or otherwise need me to intervene, I would. But, not before observing a need and giving him time to figure it out. This is valuable work! 

Supporting early attempts at dressing and undressing with your Montessori toddler

Does your toddler attempt to undress? How do you support this activity? 


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