Sebastian is screaming. He doesn’t want to get dressed. His shrieks are piercing. They penetrate my brain. I cannot think. I try to dress him patiently, without fighting. I gently but firmly put his arm in his sleeve. The screaming escalates and he violently wrenches his hand away. This is not unusual. With toddler twins, rarely a day passes when one of them doesn’t want to get dressed. Frustrating is an understatement. But what should I do? How am I to get the toddlers dressed without loosing my mind, my temper and my sanity?
Tips to Get your Toddler Dressed
Be positive. Use your best, cheery positive voice. We’re excited to be getting dressed. What an adventure! What will we find in the cupboard?
Leave time. It always takes longer than you think to get a toddler dressed. Much longer.
Make it fun. Sing songs, clap hands, tickle tummies. Try to make it fun. Get out their toys and distract them.
Choices but not too many. Toddlers like to choose things. I find this a tricky one. It’s easy to fall into the trap of “I don’t like it”, “I don’t like it” and before you know it, you’ve offered them an entire wardrobe. One little trick is to offer something you don’t think they’ll want and something you do think they’ll want. I offer my daughter a dress (in the hope that she’ll choose it) and a pair of trousers (that I know she’ll prefer). (We are lucky enough to have been given lots of beautiful hand-me-down clothes. She has a wardrobe that I envy and insists on wearing trousers and a jumper every day.)
Be prepared to walk away. Despite your best efforts, there are times when kids dig in their heals and refuse to get dressed. If you have time…Walk away! Don’t enter the battle. Even if you want to stay calm, you’ll get cross and frustrated on the inside. Keeping your calm is the number 1 trick. As soon as you’re angry, things go from bad to worse.
Appreciate days that go smoothly. There are days when it just doesn’t go right with toddlers. They scream about breakfast, they scream about getting dressed, they scream about leaving the house. It happens. It’s tough but it happens. Don’t blame yourself. Find some coping mechanisms and appreciate the days that go smoothly.
Life with toddlers can be exhausting. Remember to take time to enjoy the good bits, their snotty kisses, their chubby hands, their cute words.
They are wonderful and exasperating all wrapped up in one.
And one day you’ll miss it!
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