Getting dressed and doing laundry are some of the most basic routines you can do around the home, so why not make them fun? When your child is growing up you can use these routines as beneficial listening games and language-learning activities.
When you’re helping your child to get dressed, giving him or her the choice between different outfits also gives you the chance to talk about all of the different clothes. So, just start with two—or maybe more, depending on how you feel—changes of clothes and put them all into a bag.
- Show your child the bag and encourage him or her to open it.
- Help him or her to take some items out of the bag, and for each one look at it and talk about it. If it’s a shirt, you could say something like “It’s your shirt! See how it’s red and has a Spiderman design on the front.”
- Go on like this through the different articles of clothing. To keep it from getting boring, you can try to put on his or her clothes and joke about how small they are. Or, grab your shoes and have your child try them on.
- If your child has pulled out two pairs of pants, encourage him or her to decide which one they prefer. You could say “Do you want the black pants, or the brown pants?”
- Play along with your child:
- Tickle under his or her arms.
- Say “boo!” as his or her head pops out of their shirt.
- Count or tickle fingers and toes.
- And for all the clothes, encourage your child to put them on by him or herself: buttoning the buttons, pulling on the sleeves, fastening the Velcro on shoes, and so on.
Clean it Up
After playtime, clothes will probably need a washing, and this too you can turn into fun.
You can change this up depending on how you dry your clothes, but here’s what we suggest using:
- A plastic laundry basket
- Washing line
- Clothespins, in a bag
- Some of his clothes ready to dry
- A cabinet or drawer where you’ll put the clean clothes away
Once you’ve washed all a load of clothes and are they’ve hung out to dry, invite your child over to give you a hand.
- Start by having some of the dried clothes pinned to the washing line.
- Look at your child and wait to see what he or she does. Encourage them to help you, by saying something like “Can you help me to take the clothes off them line? I think they are dry now, and ready to come off.”
- If he or she goes to the washing line and starts pulling the clothes off, encourage him or her to develop his motor skills:
- Show how to squeeze the clothespin and take it off.
- Put it in the bag of clothespins.
- And, maybe, fold up the piece of clothing.
- Try to talk about what the child is doing and what they might be thinking. “Now we squeeze the clothespin,” “The clothespins go in the bag,” and “This shirt is dry, so we can put it away” are all different ways you can help your child learn about these words and concepts.
- And through all of this, follow your child’s lead. Allow your child to direct what happens, and let your child explore, while you use language that matches your child’s actions and discoveries.
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This post was written with help from Julie Kosaner.