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How do you persuade a 3 year old to wear clothes?

August 19, 2011

Even the Thomas t-shirt is spurned

My 3 year old son would prefer to run around naked rather than wear clothes. He can’t even be persuaded to wear his ‘Thomas & Friends’ t-shirt anymore. When I try to put clothes on him he runs away or hides in a small space or under something so that he is difficult to grab. If I manage to grab him, he wriggles out of my grasp. If I manage to get a t-shirt over his head or socks on his feet he pulls them off again. I try to encourage him to choose what to wear and put his clothes on himself, but that doesn’t work either. He just doesn’t want to wear anything!

This morning, I was having a particularly challenging time. He hid under the duvet and wouldn’t come out. So I left him to it for a bit and waited for him to emerge. Then inspiration struck!

I said, ‘What do I do with this trousers? Shall I put them on your head?’ and I put them on his head like a hat. He said, ‘No, silly mummy, trousers go on my knees!’ and he helped me put them on the right way. Then I said, ‘What about these socks, let’s put them on your ears!’ and I slipped one sock over each of his ears. He laughed and laughed and said, ‘No, silly mummy, socks go on my toes!’ and he helped me put them on properly. After that it was a doddle to put his t-shirt on. And we ran downstairs to tell to tell H what a silly mummy I was!

I’ll try this trick again, but I don’t expect it to work every day. Do you have any suggestions as to what else I can try?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 21, 2011 5:54 pm

    I have tended to be reasonably relaxed about attire in the house, but do have a rule that we wear clothes to go outside. Usually C has been quite keen to go outside, which has provided the incentive I need 🙂 Sometimes I have had to threaten the removal of a favourite toy, and a couple of times I have just had to lie her down and dress her like a baby.

    Now she’s potty trained I insist she wears at least knickers around the house though, although she’s caught me “because no-one wants to see your bottom” and keeps repeating it back to me!!

    Allowing her to choose her own outfit often helps too. Thankfully it seems to be a phase, and she’s now pretty compliant about getting dressed when we tell her to. Sometimes she even goes off and dresses herself too!

    • August 25, 2011 1:44 pm

      Good to know it’s probably going to turn out to be a phase – fingers crossed that the phase doesn’t last long!

      Lying him down and dressing him like a baby simply doesn’t work, so I’ll keep on playing the ‘silly mummy’ game for as long as it does the trick.

  2. January 25, 2012 6:59 pm

    I’ll bear this one in mind for when Little A prefers her birthday suit to a pair of slacks. Really makes a difference when you turn it into a fun game.

    • January 27, 2012 12:31 pm

      Let me know whether this trick works for you! I still use it occasionally (but it doesn’t work if you do it too often)

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