Dress for Success – 24 words to teach your child… in 30 seconds a day

Its true that early morning and late night activities, like getting dressed, can sometimes be a chore. But in 30 seconds, you can be that ideal language model for your child, to increase vocabulary and further speech and language development.

In 30 seconds you can repeat the same word or phrase to maximize new word learning up to 5 times! And if you do the same thing, once a day... your child is bound to add that word to their vocabulary.

Here are some target words and concepts to try out when dressing your little one:

Object Words                                   Action Words                      Concepts

  • Shoes                                               Stand up                             On
  • Socks                                               Sit down                             Off
  • Pants                                                Give me                             Clean
  • Shirt                                                  Find                                   Dirty
  • Button                                               Put on                                Mine
  • Zipper                                              Take off                              Yours
  • Hat                                                   Tie
  • Pajamas                                            Push
  • Head, arm, hand, leg, foot                  Pull

You can work both on comprehension and use, of particular vocabulary words. Have your child “find socks” or “find pants” amongst the pile of the day’s outfit. Be sure to narrate what you’re doing as your child gets dressed, for example “Shirt off, take out this arm, take out this arm... shirt off.” You can also incorporate teaching and reinforcement of body parts when getting dressed.

Buttoning ShirtFor the older toddler (2-3 years), you can begin to reinforce colors (identifying, matching, and naming colors) and begin teaching concepts of different clothing that will keep them cool/warm.

If you’re wondering if your child is “on-track” with speech and language milestones, you can find some great resources here.

Getting dressed is also a teaching moment for fine and gross motor activities, so encourage their independence!

Some basic milestones for dressing include:

12-18 months - starting to get undressed
18-24 months - can get completely undressed without help
2-3 years - put on socks and shirt
3-4 years - get dressed and undressed with minimal help
4-5 years - dress independently, including zippers, buttons and buckles
5-7 years  - tie shoes


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