I don't know what the deal is in our household when it comes to getting dressed. Well, it's probably the same in your household if you have a preschooler. As soon as the clothes are out and ready to go on, Reuben turns in to some kind of gymnast/monkey/bouncy ball/disappearing act/actually-totally-normal-four-year-old.
While he is quite capable of dressing himself if he turns his mind to it, he generally prefers me to do it, and I'm afraid I'm keen to follow the quickest route. But so often it isn't very quick, and his circus antics drive me crazy. So I had an outrageously good idea - and yes, it was all my idea, I didn't even see it on Pinterest.
Yesterday we made a dressing mat. I desperately want to just pin him to a spot on the floor to keep him still, so we have created footprints for him to stand on while getting dressed. I just traced around his feet on a thick piece of card, then drew over the pencil lines with a blue felt pen. I was keen for him to decorate it further actually, but he was happy with it as it was. While I had thought decorating the card would be the main part of the activity, the finding, cutting, tracing and discussion of the idea all kept him interested and well occupied. If you have a keen decorator, this activity will last twice as long as it did for us.
I was tempted to colour in the feet, but you might find that warm little feet and felt pens are a bad combination, so take that in to consideration. Stickers on the feet and drawing around the outside might keep everyone happy.
I'm very proud that my inaugural kids' activity on The Sponge is actually a ploy to make parents' lives easier. Don't expect such brilliance from all future activities.
I'll report back in a few days on how the dressing mat is going. My next plan is to attach some string to his head and to the ceiling to get him to stand up while I'm getting him dressed. I'll let you know how that goes too.
I do wonder if the morning battle would be better spent getting him to dress himself every day, as that is the ultimate goal. But I do have a need for speed. While I know I need to take the time for them to learn things for themselves, my sanity is often at stake and I'm not sure I'm ready to take that on yet. Not every day. Preschooler parents, how does the dressing routine go for you?
Post Script : We've used the mat a few times this week, though not every morning, and once when undressing for bathtime. It works quite well. There is still quite a lot of bouncing and even some racing away, but it gives us a focus to get back to which is really good. This morning I couldn't bear to clamber off my knees and go and get it when I remembered it, so instead built a little fence in a square on the floor with some handy pieces of nearby lego, and that had a similar effect.