Fighting the battle of who can get dressed

September 1, 2016

I think I’ve identified the major pressure point in why it takes so long to leave the house when you have small children; it’s getting dressed. Or more specifically, the daily battle to get everyone dressed. Before lunchtime. Or some days, at all.

The battle to get toddlers and pre-schoolers dressed

The battle to get toddlers and pre-schoolers dressed

Does this sound familiar? Tell me it’s not just us flailing around in our pyjamas well after breakfast on those days when we don’t have much to do?

Getting dressed sounds really easy – get clean, find clothes, put them on (wasn’t that a 90’s band name?). But throw a pre-schooler and a toddler into the mix, and it’s likely to all implode. Especially as getting a quick footed toddler dressed when she’s running at high speed around the house is the equivalent to lassoing an excitable, suncream-wearing octopus.

Often the first battle is devising some sort of daily shower strategy so I can a) I get a shower and b) no bored unwatched children hurl themselves down the stairs like a missile in the process (this usually works either by getting up in the middle of the night when my husband’s still here. Or strategically penning them in the bath at the same time. Usually with half a bottle of bubble bath).

And then the battle commences…

  • My daily battle; try to find an outfit for me that subtly screams ‘practical play park chic.’ That’s not already covered in a million hand prints
  • At this stage, mid-getting dressed, it is inevitable that the doorbell will ring
  • Give up the outfit hunt and wear a striped top instead
  • Try to locate my make-up (last seen, who knows where? Always located someone completely random like the top shelf in the toddler’s room. Why?)
  • Attempt to prize make-up from the toddler’s hands. And off her face. (Oh, *that’s* why I put it up there…)

And then the toddler / pre-school dressing battle commences…

  • Attempt toddler nappy change. Toddler only wants to wear a Frozen nappy. We are out of this particular ‘style’. Spend five minutes convincing her that the non-branded boring ones are the same, really, and oh look – what’s that over there?
  • Locate at least two outfit choices for each child, that vaguely match and are vaguely tasteful; often refused outright
  • Locate several different outfit choices for each and inevitably end up with something that is fancy dress or has a picture of a Frozen character on (Me before children: ‘They are never wearing anything with a cartoon character on!’ Me after children: ‘I just want to leave the house at somre point in my life!’). The clothes-strewn bedroom floor now resembles Primark Oxford Street on a sale day
  • Gingerly attempt to put clothes on the toddler and hope she won’t notice. Ha
  • Attempt to make it fun, make it a game, use reverse psychology, anything, ANYTHING. Ha
  • Attempt to wrestle her into them instead, with varying degrees of sucess
  • Say ‘Oooh! Shall we put our clothes on? What a great idea!’ to the pre-schooler. Many times
  • Say ‘Ooh! Shall we put our clothes BACK on?’ many, many more times
  • Chase two children around the house, waving tops and pants like a battle flag
  • Temporarily give up and cancel all plans other than lying down in a darkend room instead
  • Be revived by ten cups of tea, hunt down two pairs of matching socks
  • Attempt to re-engage distracted pre-schooler who’s become obsessed with anything else, like making a dance routine or some random thing she’s suddently rediscovered, like the wall
  • Referee some kind of fight, deal with a wasp-based crisis, reject pleas for ice lollies, CBeebies or glitter
  • Try and find alternative pairs of socks (usually ones with Anna, Elsa or a superhero on them)
  • Regret only doing one load of washing the previous day
  • Locate hairclips. Remove about a hundred hairclips from hair
  • Locate and hunt down two pairs of matching shoes
  • Find other pairs of shoes (usually, wellies in summer and sandals in winter)
  • Put on some kind of last-minute added accessory, usually sunglasses, superhero masks or party hats
  • If it’s summer, then vaguely remember sun cream
  • Attempt to go through the rest of the leaving house stages. Including teeth, which is a whole other story.

Recently, one more than one occasion, one of us – mentioning no names – has been so insistent on not wanting to take her pyjamas off that she’s worn them to nursery. Twice. Those days I wore my slogan t-shirt that says ‘I took the path of least resistance.’

The battle to get dressed - why is getting toddlers and pre-schoolers dressed so stressful?

But think about it. Isn’t this a great example we can all follow? I mean, who doesn’t want to not get dressed and wear their pyjamas all day? Come on, let’s start a trend. It might mean we’re vaguely on time for school

More posts…More things they don’t tell you in NCT classes (like why getting dressed is so hard) unexpectedly brilliant breastfeeding benefits and two things for mums to know about tantrums

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