TYPICAL DEVELOPMENT OF DRESSING SKILLS

It is important to remember that all children develop at different rates. Below are some general guidelines for how most children develop dressing skills, as well as some of the reasons that parents might ask for help when it comes to dressing.


Between 1 and 2 years of age, your child may:

  • Help with pushing her arms through sleeves

  • Remove his socks, shoes, and hat

  • Hold her leg out to help with pulling pants up

  • Help pull down his pants


Between 2 and 3 years of age, your child may:

  • Take off her coat, simple pyjamas, or sweatpants

  • Put on a front-buttoning coat or shirt

  • Unzip a zipper or undo large buttons


Between 3 and 4 years of age, your child may:

  • Take off tops and bottoms

  • Put on t-shirts or sweaters with a bit of help

  • Put on pants, but need help doing them up

  • Do up large buttons and pull up zipper once it is started

  • Put on shoes and socks, but not yet tie shoes


Between 5 and 6 years of age, your child may:

  • Be fully independent with dressing except for difficult fasteners like belts or back zippers

  • Still need a bit of help choosing appropriate clothing


Between 7 and 9 years of age, your child may:

  • Start to choose own clothes to buy

  • Choose clothing appropriate for the weather


By 10 years of age, your child may:

  • Start to help with choosing and buying own clothing

  • Start to choose own style of clothing


When to Ask for Help

You may want to ask for help from an occupational therapist when:

  • Your child has physical problems, making it hard for him to move his body for dressing

  • Your child is not undressing herself by 4 years of age

  • Your child is not putting on simple clothes (pants, socks, shoes) by 4 ½ years 

  • Your child refuses to take part in the dressing routine

  • Your child becomes extremely upset when you try to dress her