Toddler Dressing Stuggles in the AM Help

Updated on May 12, 2011
S.W. asks from Philadelphia, PA
15 answers

Help -- I am working Mom and my 2 1/2 year old all of a sudden --started last week--throws a full fit when I put socks shoes and pants on him. I have tried to have him pick out his clothes, and I purchsed all kinds of different textures and colrs and styles nothing has worked. I am very late for work now everyday and he will only wear his PJ pants and old sneakers without socks. Any suggestions or advice will help thanks

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answers from Philadelphia on

If he's wearing his pj pants and old sneakers, that's not so bad. Maybe bring the clothes with you and try to swap them out right when you arrive at daycare. Or, dress him for bed in something that can pass for clothes the next day--soft pants and tshirts. I used to do that all the time for my daughter. I wouldn't worry about socks unless it's really cold or he's getting blisters.

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answers from San Francisco on

I put my son to bed dressed if we have to be somewhere in the morning. A lot of people will disagree with me but it has taken that struggle off our plate. He does at least get a rinse off in the tub every night and owns very few clothes that would look "rumpled' if he slept in them. Also, I let him chose what he wants to wear. even if it does not match. I remove anything not seasonally appropriate from his room so we don't run into that issue too often

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answers from Seattle on

Ugh I remember this well with my son!!! After many sweaty mornings of going to work stressed out with tattered hair and an angry toddler I finally figured it out! Only one thing works. YOU HAVE TO GET UP EARLIER!!!!!!!! You need to give him 15-20 minutes of your undivided attention whether it be just snuggling with him watching cartoons in pj's while you drink a cup of coffee and he eats a breakfast snack (dry cereal or whatev!) - the key is to make it non stressful. If you give him that time I can almost guaruntee you that your morning life will be sooooooo much easier! He will be happy and satisfied (and so will you!) - much less apt to put up resistance when you need him to get dressed, but give yourself a broader window of time to make it happen. My son was not much of a morning person and like most toddlers - they don't hurry when we need them to, once we get frustrated they do too and then its a big blow out of unsuccessful morning for both of you. I also let my son take a baggy of cherrios, rasins, or french toast sticks with him in the car on the way to daycare after he got dressed which seemed to help him not mind getting in the car bc he wasn't leaving it behind. If you allow him to make a couple of his own decisions he will be pleased. Good luck! Working mom's got it rough in the morning thats for sure!!!!

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answers from Allentown on

Hi, S.:

Take some clothes for him to change into at day care.

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answers from New York on

Let him wear what he wants - he's only 2 1/2. Then pack extra stuff. Once he calms down a bit from the morning rush, whoever watches him can change him (perhaps when they do a diaper change).

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I say let him wear his pj pants and old sneakers with no socks. Pack a pair of pants and some socks.
It could just be a stall/delay/power play move and, honestly, you need to think outside of the box to get past those!
It's not worth the morning stress.
The daycare teachers have seen this a million times.
Good luck!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

My son did this for about 6mos, he also wanted to be naked all the time and he really got interested in potty training. It ended around 32mos, when he started putting on his own socks/shoes/pants. He still wants me to pick out the outfits, sometimes changing one item, but he's back to pleasantly being dressed. Good luck!!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

It's a phase. Just put him in the clothes and get out the door. He'll get over it.



answers from Denver on

My daughter (almost 3) is STILL going through this exact stage- I bought her some clothes that were appropriate for sleeping AND wearing out of the house, so on nights before she has to go to childcare, these are the only options in her pj drawer. So she can still choose what she wants to wear to bed, and then we don't fight in the morning about getting dressed. It has worked SO well for us- this started for us in the winter so I bought those $5 fleece tops and bottoms from Children's Place, but now that it's getting warmer, I've replaced them with lighter pants and t shirts/long sleeve shirts. If she asks for her favorite footie pj's, I tell her they are with the dirty laundry.

(Her favorite footie pj's go back in the drawer on weekends and days she doesn't go to childcare.)

Honestly, there's nothing wrong with wearing "clothes" to bed, and our mornings are SOOOOOO much more pleasant!!!



answers from Philadelphia on

I can sympathize. My daughter does the same thing. I try to dress her when she is sound asleep. Sometimes I put the shirt she is going to wear on the night before. Worst case scenario I take her and her clothes to daycare. I make sure she can see her clothes in the car and usually she wants them on before we get out if the car. But if that doesn't work give her clothes to the teacher and let the teacher try.



answers from Philadelphia on

See if he wants to dress himself. Ask him. If that does not then take his clothes with you to the daycare and let them know he did not want to get dressed and you can not afford to be late for work. If he does not want to cooperate or dress himself then also let him know you are going to take something away from him because he is not cooperating. Remember,you are the boss he is not. I would also suggest to wake him up and half hour earlier so you will not be late for work. It is time to stop giving in to him. Once he knows you mean business then he will stop having a fit.



answers from York on

If it saves your sanity, let him wear the pjs and go with no socks. Sometimes my 4 year old has his clothes on backwards and shoes on the wrong feet - sometimes he even will wear 2 different shoes - because he wants to. When I suggest him changing - he wants no parts of it so I let it go. I'm proud to be seen with him no matter what, so I say what's the big deal?


answers from Sacramento on

My girls used to do that, my younger one in particular. We would pick out her clothes the night before, but then something would upset her apple cart and she'd refuse to get dressed. What usually worked was that I would say, "It's the rule at preschool that you have to wear your school uniform, or Miss Vickie will not be able to teach you today. I know that would make you really sad if Miss Vickie couldn't teach you today." Preschoolers have a great respect for "rules" for whatever reason, and if it is the school's rule that the child must be dressed, well, who are we to argue? (Even if it's not the school's rule, you can say it is, right?) This will also put you and your son on the same side of the issue - he now sees you as his ally who is trying to help him get something he wants (playing at school), not someone who is trying to make him do something he doesn't want to do (getting dressed).

Good luck, I hope you find something that works!!



answers from Philadelphia on

My daughter does this, although picking out her own outfit usually helps. When it doesn't I put her on the "naughty step" for 2 minutes until she is ready to get dressed. Somehow, this always works!


answers from Williamsport on

If this is the ONLY time he ever throws fits, it may have to do with the clothes and dressing. If he throws fits at other times, he just wants to do it when it's time to get dressed. I would discipline fits ALL the time and go from there.

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