Saturday 3 November 2012

The Sunday Parenting Party

Taming the Goblin

Its time for the Sunday Parenting Party. Please link up your parenting posts (old and new welcome and they don't have to be wise or profound). Please don't link Kids activities and crafts, these can be linked to the Kids Co-op. Thanks
This week I am linking:
(Goblin is 36 months)
Now that Goblin is day-time potty trained we thought we ought to work on getting him to dress and undress himself. I'm sure a lot have kids have mastered getting dressed before they are three years old. But Goblin hasn't. Some children seem more interested in clothes and choosing what they will wear - Goblin is not. In fact the only interest he ever pays in what he is or isn't wearing is when we try to get him to take off his pyjamas. Then we often get a massive hissy fit. If it was up to him he'd mooch around the house in his pyjamas all day and quite happily go out in them too - as evidenced by several occasions when he has gone to nursery in his pyjama top because he has refused to take it off and I couldn't be bothered to fight about it. 

So how do you get a child who isn't interested, to take that next step towards independence and dress themselves? 

I read a post over at Harvesting Kale about a dressing basket.  I thought that would be a great way to motivate Goblin. I went out and bought a funky basket, I tried to get him involved in choosing his clothes for the following day but he wouldn't engage in the conversation. So I chose them, put them in his basket and directed him to them the next morning. At midday he was still in his pyjamas. This went on for several days until I gave up.
My next approach was trying to make all his clothes accessible. I 'Montessoried' (yes that is verb honest) his wardrobe putting all his clothes into different baskets on shelves that he could reach. 
He did show some interest. He was interested in pulling the baskets off the shelf and emptying the neatly folded clothes. grrrr!
Finally we decided that we needed to be a bit firmer. We introduced the "you cannot watch TV until you have dressed yourself" approach. 
Now I realise that most normal parents probably don't let their kids watch TV before they are dressed, but Goblin gets up at 6am and frankly my brain doesn't work until 8am so we usually have a bit of a TV session, followed by playing with toy trucks while mummy gets her coffee on. And eventually when my mind has thawed out we potter upstairs and get dressed so we can go out. 
This routine still applies, only now we go upstairs a bit earlier than I would normally and I sit with him. The first couple of days Goblin threw the whole "I'm not gonna" routine. Then I calmly explained that we would stay in the bedroom until he was dressed. It took a while for him to realise I was serious. But when he did, he got up, picked up his trousers and put them on. 
What has amazed me is that he can actually do most of the dressing and undressing himself, he just hasn't had desire to do so before. 
Some of the great posts linked up last week include
Why reward charts aren't for us by Picklebums
Gently and Sensitively Separating for drop-off activities at APtly Said
Sippy Cup Half Full Parenting by The Cutie and the Beauty
Redirecting the Energy by Happy Whimsical Hearts
If you haven't read them already they are well worth a look. (You guys can grab an "I was featured" button from my button page if you'd like one). 
And now to the linky

I'm sharing this with
Montessori Monday


  1. Love the post! My older guy has been dressing himself for years (he's 5 now), but I still dress my 3.5-yo because he's just not interested. I know I should try to make him do it himself, but it just doesn't bug me enough at this point to do something about it.

    Thanks for posting the link on separating/drop-off issues. That's been the latest problem over here!

  2. Seems to be a trait among a lot of toddlers! I agree about not being human at 6 am, my son got up early, too, but he was also poopy, so I got to start my day THAT way, for years. (Down syndrome kids take a really, really, really long time to potty learn, did I mention it took a really long time?) But the good news is I also helped him get dressed. So we've kept that same routine (also because I knew he would enter a Montessori Sensitive Period for Order at age 2 1/2 to 3 and having our routine down BEFORE that age was crucial! Looks like you are on your way!

  3. I love the idea of "montessoriing" the clothes by making them accessible. It's a really great idea. Your blog makes me want to try things that I am scared of! I like that!

  4. Your dressing baskets are wonderful! And I LOVE the video! Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page:


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