Putting on a coat
|April 9, 2012||Posted by eryn under Kids, Montessori|
Our son is now 28 months old. Please note: I use the terms “he” and “him” in this exercise because my child is a boy and I find using “he/she” and “him/her” to be clunky.
This is the most fun — and certainly easiest — way I’m aware of to teach a young child to put on a coat by himself. It is a basic practical life activity that you can practice whenever your child needs to put on a coat, blazer, cardigan sweater or even a vest.
- Begin by laying the jacket on the floor with the inside of the jacket exposed and the sleeves easily accessible.
- Ask your child to stand near the neck of the jacket and squat down to slide his hands partly into the sleeves.
- As he stands up, ask him to swing his arms up and around so that he ends up with his arms at his sides and in the sleeves.
We first tried this exercise with our son about six months ago, but we didn’t get serious about it until we did it a few months ago at our Mommy and Me Montessori class. Since then, we’ve been doing it almost every time he needs to put on a coat.
When I first tried it with him, he didn’t really seem to understand what I was trying to do, but once he saw other kids doing it in class, he of course wanted to do it, too. It took him a couple of tries in class to do it correctly, but now he usually gets it right on the first shot. With his hooded coats and sweaters, he usually ends up with the hood on, too, which is a nice bonus when it’s cold outside. Once he has his coat or sweater on, I start the zipper for him as well and ask him to zip it up himself.
This usually makes our rush out the door a little smoother, too, because it’s one less thing I have to do for him, except of course when he doesn’t want to wear a coat.
Here are some other related activities you can try with your child:
- As I mentioned above, once your child’s coat is on, you can ask him to button, snap, velcro or zip it up himself. Our son’s coats and sweaters only have zippers, and he consistently zips them up himself once I get the two sides in place at the bottom.
- Encourage your child to take his coat off by himself as well. Our son is usually able to unzip his coats and sweaters and squiggle his way out of them by himself, although he sometimes needs a little help.
- Install hooks at your child’s level in your house so that he can reach for his sweater or coat himself and hang it up once he’s done.
Here are some other ideas from the book Teach Me to Do It Myself: Montessori Activities for You and Your Child:
- While you’re sorting and folding laundry, place some pairs of clean socks on a table (start with about four pairs at first). Find one of each pair and lay them out in a row. Ask your child to find the matching sock and place it on top of the other to make a pair. Once you’ve found all the pairs, show your child how to roll them over and fold into a ball.
- While you’re putting folded clothes away, ask your child to help put them away. This is something our son loves to do, although the clothes do not always end up in the right place or stay folded.
- While you’re folding laundry, show your child how to turn a sleeve or a pant leg right-side-out. When your child is able to do that, move on to whole pieces of clothing. Tip: You can turn a shirt or pants right-side-out by pulling the material through any hole. Encourage your child to try getting an item right-side-out using different holes (using the neck, collar and sleeves on a shirt, for example).
What other related activities can you think of?
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I can remember doing this when I was in Montessori School 25 years ago!