Dressing Games for Babies

This entry is part 23 of 33 in the series Baby Days

baby dressing games - simple ideas for easy changes

Most days I struggle to get dressed before my husband comes home.  Yes, I will admit it!  In my defense he comes home fairly early, but still! And one would think that my reticence to dress myself would carry over to my kids.  One would think they wear their bed clothes most of the day.  But, they are usually much better dressed (um…well, dressed) than I am.

My mother-in-law mentioned one time that she was surprised (pleasantly so, I think) that I dressed the girls each day instead of leaving them in their bed clothes.  She said a lot of moms just keep their babies in their bed clothes.  I don’t know…do you?

Well, I dress my girls most days, not because I like to put frilly things on them and play dress up (that’s just not my gig), but because I think it is part of a normal routine.  And though I struggle to get myself dressed for the day pre-3PM, I still would like to leave the impression to my girls that getting dressed it part of everyday life.  And yet…

There are some serious struggles with getting those girls dressed each day!  We have names for the maneuvers and tactics our girls have for refusing to cooperate while dressing.  Have you ever gotten the Stiff Leg?  You know, the locking of the knee joint such that the leg can only be moved up and down (while laying down).  It is commonly accompanied by the Ankle Magnet (when the ankles seem to be magnetized to one another preventing any clothing to pass over the feet and onto the legs).Baby Dressing Games - simple ways to get baby dressed

Over time, I have developed some strategies of my own for getting these girls dressed without a lot of fussing and in a relatively short time.  Here are the games we play while getting dressed:


Oh, I know this is not something new, but I thought I would start with an easy one.  Even if your little one is too young to do the peek-a-boo thing, do it.  It will magically click one day and you will hear a giggle.  It is priceless.  We do peek-a-boo for putting on ALL shirts, all shirts (even with our 2 and half year old).

Where is it?

This goes along with peek-a-boo.  Have your child identify a body part that needs to be covered with clothing (i.e. the belly button).  Then pull the shirt (please not the pants) over the spot and hide it.  Do this a couple of times, asking where the body part is and when they point it out say, “There it is!”

Super Wedgie

Yeah – you know what I am talking about.  This is for when you have standing little ones and you need to put pants on them.  Stand them up on the changing table or floor, and instruct them to hold on to your shoulders.  We say, “One, two, three!”  Then pull their pants up around the diaper and gently lift them off the floor, holding them by the pants.  You get the best snug fit and a happy camper.  All I have to do for our youngest is say, “Let’s do “One, two, three” and she stands up and moves towards my shoulders with a smile on her face.

We Lost it

Have you noticed that some long-sleeved clothing (especially bed clothes) have ridiculously tiny sleeve openings at the wrists?  It can be a struggle to put baby’s hand through the hole, even if you are sure you have the right fit.  Encourage your little one to help you get her dressed by appearing to be very concerned over losing a particular body part. “Oh, no!  We lost your fingers!  Where did those fingers go?”  Baby will begin to push his fingers or feet through the hole and will be delighted when he finds them!  Make sure to express deep relief when they are found!  “Whew, I thought we had lost them forever!”

Mama, Will you Hold My Hand?

Sometimes encouraging little ones to put their arms through a sleeve can be a little more difficult than others.  At these times, I ask my little one to hold my hand and then move their arm to the sleeve and get it started through the sleeve.  Then I let go of her hand and switch to We Lost It or Peek-A-Boo, depending on the sleeve length.   I told you, I’ve got game!


Some dressing sessions I have to use all these tricks and some I only need a couple.  And still there are those times when baby just does not want to cooperate.  Showing patience and speed are the keys to the struggle.

simple baby dressing games_

What do you do to get your little ones dressed?

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This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Cindy Harris

    When my four grand babies (all under the age of 5) aren’t dressed when I get there to watch them at 8:00 am every morning, and I need to have them dressed to go outside, it’s pretty easy. “We’re going outside!!!” We’re out the door within 10-15 minutes. If I just want them to get dressed, I have a prize for them to attain. Three of them can dress themselves. Thank The Lord!

    Love your blog!

  2. delwyn

    from about ten months old its a case of don’t sweat the little, I work out the days we are going out and they have to wear the right clothes for the weather, kindy etc and on the days or part days I let them choose so if its patterns with dots or a summer dress over themals, it makes them happy and then on the days it matters, I give them a choice between two of what I want them to wear with the adage of you got to wear what you wanted yesterday now today you have to wear these because, its cold, wet, sunny etc. usually happy campers

    1. ussleah

      I like those strategies! We let our older one choose a pair of pants and then between two shirts. We don’t have as many worries about weather appropriate dressing because it is so warm here year round.

  3. Lauren

    Ha! I know just what you mean. I’ve been thinking lately that there should be an Olympic event called “Baby Wrangling”: Getting a wiggling, running, kicking, squirming baby dressed. I can do it in 30 seconds flat 😉

  4. Laura Hinckley

    Wonder Woman strikes. Your club sounds so fun and I hope I can follow along on the next one. I have yet to organize my life in a way that I have time to listen to words of wisdom. Huge character flaw I hope to rectify soon. I too am a coffee junkie 🙂 Thanks for sharing #SITSBlogging

  5. Crunchy Con Mom

    Great ideas! My preschooler still loves pretending his body parts have disappeared. He has a big head, so sometimes sweatshirts get stuck and he panics, but calms down instantly if I act like his head has seriously disappeared lol.

  6. Kristen B

    I have such trouble keeping pants on my kids! I dress them and within a half an hour both my 3.5 year old and my 1.5 year old have their pants off. If I don’t put a body suit on the baby he takes his diaper off too! So as long as they have their bums covered, I’m ok with it. Pick your battles, right??

  7. Lena

    I know the feeling! After having my third, my motto is “I remembered to bring all of you, right?” Meaning, anything beyond literally remembering to take everyone with me is a icing on the cake. Socks are optional. Matching socks are unheard of. Shoes…maybe. Snacks…probably. Getting dressed in “real” clothes is so overrated. 😉 #SITSBlogging

  8. Kristin

    I love this! I totally use almost all of those tricks, especially the super wedgie!

    I’m trying to think if there was ever a time that my kiddos or I stayed in our pajamas all day. Only when my kids were really young – up to 4months or so, because they would wear sleep and play outfits anyway and were getting changed for all sorts of reasons at odd times.

    LOVE that picture of your little one – how adorable!

    Stopping by from SITS!

    1. ussleah

      Hi Kristin, we mamas have to do what we can to get those kids to cooperate, don’t we! We only do the pajama thing on days when we are all feeling bad.

  9. Kym

    If my boys really don’t want to change out of pj’s (which isn’t often, but it happens once in a while), I let them wear the pj shirt under a sweatshirt or fleece. They think it’s so cool that no one else will know they’re secretly wearing pj’s. #SITSBlogging

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