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Dressing Skills Development


Do you feel rushed to get your kids ready in the morning and wish they could do some of it on their own? Promoting independence with dressing skills builds confidence for kids and is an important developmental skill. It also provides you with more time allowing you to enjoy your morning a little more. Below you will find the average age a child may reach a specific dressing skill along with fun activities to build independence.

Dressing Development

  • 1 year old

    • Cooperates with dressing

    • Pulls off socks

    • Pushes arms through sleeves

  • 2 years old

    • Removes unfastened coat

    • Removes shoes if untied

    • Helps pull down pants

  • 2 and a half years old

    • Removes pants with elastic band

    • Assists in pulling on socks

    • Unbuttons large buttons

    • Puts on coat

  • 3 years old

    • Puts on pullover shirt with minimal help

    • Zips and unzips jacket once on track

    • Puts on shoes without fasteners (may be on wrong feet)

  • 3 and a half years old

    • Unzips zipper on jacket

    • Puts on mittens

    • Unbuckles shoes

    • Dress with supervision

  • 4 years old

    • Removes pullover garment

    • Zips jacket zipper

    • Put on socks and shoes correctly

    • Identifies front and back of clothing

  • 5 years old

    • Dresses unsupervised

    • Ties and unties knots

    • Puts belt on loops

  • 6 years old

    • Ties bows

    • Closes back fasteners

Dressing Activities

  • Play dress up

  • Pull scrunchies on feet

  • Pull pop toobs up around waist and then overhead

  • Practice getting dressed while sitting down

    • This allows the children to have a stable base of support and focus on the motor planning of dressing

  • Add a dressing activity in a fun obstacle course

    • Example of steps

      • Stepping on series of pillows

      • Throwing socks into a basket

      • Taking shirt off and on

      • Crawl through a tunnel

  • Place stickers or clothespins on bottom (front and back) of shirt for child to pull off

Fastener Development

  • 2 and a half years old

    • Unbuttons large buttons

  • 3 years old

    • Zips and unzips jacket on track

    • Buttons large buttons

  • 3 and a half years old

    • Unzips separating zipper

    • Buttons 3-4 buttons

    • Unbuckles shoes

  • 4 years old

    • Zips jacket zipper

  • 5 to 6 years old

    • Ties shoes

Fastener Activities

  • Hand strengthening activities

  • Practice two handed tasks such as lacing, pop beads, playdoh, opening containers, etc

  • Fastener board

  • Button snake

  • Practice!!!


Providing plenty of opportunities for practice and giving children time to complete a dressing skill will give your child the quickest road to success and independence. Children are excited to do things on their own and seeing them accomplish a new skill is rewarding for parents as well. If you feel rushed in the morning make sure to give them time to practice during other parts of the day when you have more time.

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