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Everyday activities: Getting dressed

There are lots of opportunities for you to support your child’s communication as part of the everyday activity of getting dressed.


Illustration of adult reducing their speech

Use objects to help your child become familiar with the routine. For example, show them a vest for getting dressed or a coat for going outside. Remember to make sure you are consistent with the object you choose.

Illustration of Makaton sign for coat

You can try using the Makaton sign alongside the spoken word to help support their communication skills. Try signing the key words such as ‘coat’ or ‘socks’.

Illustration of adult letting child choose what's next

Try offering choices to your child by showing them 2 items of clothing and encourage them to make a choice: “what’s next, t shirt or socks?”

Remember to show the items as you offer the choice as this will help teach the word but also lets them communicate their choice by looking or pointing if they can’t yet say the word. As your child makes a choice model the language by labelling their chosen item.

Illustration of adult commenting on getting dressed

Talk about what you are doing and model language for your child using single words. For example, body parts (arm, leg) clothing (vest, socks), seasonal clothing (hat, scarf) and describing words (dirty, clean, colours, size).

Illustration of adult repeating word

Remember to use lots of repetition to help your child learn new words and pause to give them time to respond.

Illustration of adult commenting on an action

You can talk about the different action words like ‘pull’ or ‘push’.

  • Remember to use lots of repetition to help your child become familiar with these words and pause to allow time for them to respond.
  • You can also model the different verbs (or action words) that are involved in getting dressed such as ‘pull, ‘stuck’, ‘get’, ‘push’.
  • You can comment on what you and your child are doing as they are getting dressed such as “arms up”, “coat on” and “leg in”.
  • Encourage your child to follow simple key word instructions such as ‘where’s your sock? or ‘bring me your shoes’ to help them with their understanding of language.

For more information please contact the Speech and Language Therapy Service at Flockton House on 0114 226 2333.

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

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