Our child is two and we are having a terrible time keeping his clothes on, our toddler undresses at every opportunity. Every time we turn around he is stripped. We have tried clothes on backwards and pining them, it does not work.
Any suggestions? By the way nappies do not stay on either. Thankyou.
A toddler refuses to get dressed on average every nanosecond, and toddler behavior like stripping off diaper and clothes is just as common.
Many young children cannot see the importance of clothes or diapers. The other day we were visiting Grandma and my 3-and-a-half-year-old nipped out of the room,managed to open the front door and we found him merrily doing a poop in the front garden!
Pinning a young child's clothes back and restricting their movement in this way is not a good idea, even if it had worked for you.
Toddlers need to move around, more than anyone else. Even though their behaviour is challenging, they have the right to freedom of movement.
Why won't your son wear diaper or clothes? Why is it, that a toddler undresses for no reason? It may be one of 3 things (or a combination of all of them):
Too Hot? Make sure he is drinking enough water. So many parents give nothing but sweet drinks to their kids - but these don't quench thirst. Apart from the obvious telltale signs of overheating, feeling the back of his neck will tell you if he needs to cool down.
Ready For Potty Training? Many kids signal they want out of diapers by ripping them off. If so, congratulations: this is a great sign! It's now time to take a deep breath and enter the world of toilet training. Have a look at when to start potty training.
Attention Seeking? So many toddler behaviour issues boil down to a desperate need for attention. Toddlers aren't fussy and any attention - positive or negative - is what they want more than anything else.See
this page for a fuller explanation.
How can you tell when a toddler undresses if the anti-wear diaper/clothes revolt is down to attention seeking? A good indication of whether this is behind your toddler's actions is the look on his face as he strips off. If he is observing you, grinning at you etc then it's probably attention seeking...and that is what I'm going to concentrate on now.
This is what I think he would have said if he could have expressed himself when you pinned his clothes back:
Your son thought 'I want to be noticed, any way - I don't care. There are so many changes going on for me, I'm not sure of who I am and need to fell significant and loved. Because I'm only 2, I haven't yet worked out how to ask for this properly, or to know that Mummy prefers just to give me positive attention. So I wonder what will happen if I take my clothes off?
When you pinned his clothes back he probably thought: This is really uncomfortable, but at least I've got a reaction. I bet if I refuse to wear diaper clothes next time I'll get more of this attention. Their reaction shows that at least they have noticed me.
I am not saying that any toddler who behaves like this is neglected in any way. All young children crave more attention than we adults can ever give them.
Here's what I would do when your toddler undresses, or shows anti-wear diaper and clothes behaviour:
Lower your expectations of 'good' behaviour at this age. Is there really anything wrong with letting your son run round in the privacy of your home without his clothes on? Talk to other parents and you will find that the vast majority of young kids love to run round without clothes on. I and many others I know, find nothing wrong with toddlers running around in the nod, as we say in our house.
Try an experiment Say to yourself that the next time he strips off, you will act as if nothing has happened. This way he gets no attention from misbehaving - he has nothing to gain. See ignoring problem behaviour for more info on this.
Give him positive attention - this may seem difficult, especially if you are often in conflict with him. So you need to find any excuse, the smallest good thing to praise and reward him for. How about those occasions when he does wear his clothes? For example, is he happy to get into his pajamas? If so, act as if you've just won the lottery and give him a sticker, ring Grandma or another significant adult etc.
Making sure you praise him for other things too, for example helping out around the home (even if he is actually no help, he will love to feel like a big boy!
Build on this good feeling by setting up a "Wear Diaper/Clothes" reward chart. It is important for young children to have something tangible like a chart they can look at and show off!
For nighttime I have seen this all-in-one sleep suit recommended on the Internet, with parents managing to get their toddlers to wear diaper and pajamas all night.
Please note that I have never used it with my son, and so cannot say how good it is.
When you purchase from this link, you are actually purchasing from Amazon.com, and you can have peace of mind that your order will be processed by Amazon’s secure order server.