Turning getting dressed into a silly game

Another great idea from Duane:

My 4yr old daughter hates putting clothes over her head. Screams bloody murder, crumples to a heap on the floor to prevent it. One day I said, “Close your eyes, and I’ll count to 3. Ready? 1, 2, 3!” and the shirt was over her head before she knew it. Well, she finds this wonderful, and every morning when it’s time to get dressed (and every night for pajamas) she now says, “Can we do 123?”

To keep her from getting bored with it (I don’t think that saying “1 2 3″ is much of a hack!), here’s the trick – you have to change it up every time. So I’ll say, “Let’s do 1 2 3 backwards” or “How about in Japanese?” or “Monty Python style?” Keep it silly, keep the attention away from the deed, and you can get great things accomplished.

I think that last line should be cross-stitched and hung on the wall of every home. The more we avoid the inevitable power struggles (saving the big guns for the really important stuff), the easier everyone will breathe.

Related: Getting past “no” with a game

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  1. says

    Hehe, we have a similar thing with the 3.75 year old. I scrunch the shirt up and hold the head opening up to my face with my lips sticking through. Then he tries to kiss me and I try to kiss him and I quickly pull the shirt over his head while this silly kissing is going on!


  2. says

    On a related note, a trick I use with the 2.75yr old (boy) is to go across the room, and then run at him with shirt appropriately poised to pull over his head. The angle’s completely wrong, but he doesn’t care. Half the time I overshoot him and put the shirt on a stuffed animal or a bedpost, he thinks it’s hysterical.

  3. says

    Isn’t it funny how something so difficult can have such a simple solution? If I ever have trouble getting my daughter to get out of bed to get dressed, all I have to say is, “Would you like -me- to pick out your outfit today?” Then, she always comes running to pick out her outfit herself. :)

  4. says

    My 19 month old’s head is starting to get too big for a lot of his shirts. I try to stretch the neck out enough to make putting it on a non event, but every now and then it gets stuck. As soon as I hear any sounds of distress I turn it into a peek a boo game. “Where’s Peyton?!? I can’t find him anywhere!” And by the time his head finally pops through he’s giggling.