We are going to be late! Hurry up!
I can't do this button up! I can't!
Put on your jacket, it's cold out!
I can't do the zip! I can't!
The morning rush out the door to get to school can often be a struggle. Getting dressed can be a chore and then there are fastenings on school bags to manage too!
This month in the "Functional Skills for Kids" Series, we look at helping kids with fasteners such as buttons, zippers, snaps (press studs) and more! My blogging colleagues will look at fine motor, gross motor, visual perceptual and sensory motor considerations. We will also cover when we should expect our kids to manage these tasks and how to incorporate this learning in play. Find the links for these articles below!
So it is time for your child to learn how to manage fastenings on their own but where do you begin? It helps to have an understanding of the steps involved with each of these tasks. I have outlined the steps involved in managing common fastenings here through visual photo sequences. For your printable copy of these sequences, download them HERE!
Once you know the steps involve there are a few tips in teaching your child how to manage these fastenings. (Actually these tips apply to teaching your child most new tasks!)
These are tips occupational therapists use all the time!
generalization of the skill (eg. zipper on dress, zipper on bag, zipper on pencil case, zipper on
9. Reinforce and reward - We would like our kids to have intrinsic motivation to manage
fasteners independently! Many children do desire this independence and often "force" it
upon their parents too early with "I can do it myself!"
Some children, however are not so intrinsically motivated. They stubbornly refuse to get
dressed or insist on a parent helping them. For these children praise and reward are
important to encourage desirable behavior. Often these kids benefit from a "backward
chaining" approach discussed earlier. Rewards may include verbal praise "Great job!" or "You
did it!". The reward may include letting your child choose their preferred outfit to wear or a sticker.
A side note about rewards:
Is your child struggling with fasteners? Have you tried these tips?
This post is part of “Functional Skills for Kids: 12 month series by Paediatric Occupational and Physical Therapists”. You can read all of the childhood functions HERE. Read all Your Kids OT’s monthly posts HERE.
Find more information about “helping kids with fasteners” from other Occupational and Physical Therapists participating in the “Functional Skills for Kids series”:
When Can Kids Learn to Button and Zip? | Mama OT
Clothing Fasteners and Fine Motor Skill Development | Kids Play Space
Clothing Fasteners and Gross Motor Skill Development | Your Therapy Source Inc
How to Adapt Buttoning and Zipping for Your Child | Miss Jaime OT
Learning How To Use Buttons, Snaps, Zippers, and Buckles Through Play | Growing Hands-On Kids
Tips to Teach Kids to Zip and Button | The Inspired Treehouse
Pinch. Poke. Snap... Helping Kids to Manage Buttons, Zips and More! | Your Kids OT
Clothing Fasteners and Sensory Processing | Sugar Aunts
The Visual Motor Aspect of Buttons and Zippers | Therapy Fun Zone
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Hi, I'm Cindy and I am an Occupational Therapist. I enjoy working creatively with children to see them reach their potential. Read more about me here.
Disclaimer: The information on this site is general in nature and should be used for educational and entertainment purposes. The activities are safe for most children, however, you should consult an Occupational Therapist or health professional to address specific movement, sensory or other medical conditions. This blog does not replace formal therapeutic professional advice given by a health professional or medical practitioner. Reviews and endorsements of products will only be made based on my expertise and personal opinion; and deemed worthy of such endorsement. The opinions shared in sponsored content will always be my own and not that of the advertising company or brand. Content, advertising space or posts will be clearly identified if paid, affiliated or sponsored. Your Kids OT undertakes to meet the requirements of the "Social Media Policy" as published by Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Further information about this policy can be found here.
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