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I need Help!! I need Help!!

This is the ONLY Thing I hear from my son when I try to get him to do things for himself.. seriously -he wont' even try OR he really can't do things that age wise he should be able to without this much frustration - I just can't tell which one it is -
for the past 9 months... we have been working on him getting his own shoes on.. getting his jacket on - clothes etc.. but the shoes are our biggest battle, I don't give in and do it for him but 9 month and 8 times out of 10 it turns in to a battle. not a tantrum or fit - he gets so upset.. crying, can't breathe like completely emotionally upset - My husband thinks he just wants us to do it but I am starting to think its more like lack of motor skills or something.. I mean, he cant/won't do the zipper or barely can figure out how to do his own jacket with a similar battle.. I just sit in tears sometimes watching him struggle - but if I try to help him, he completely LETS me do it for him so I don't want to do that either - is it seriously this much trouble for other 3-1/2 year olds :(


Asked by maxsmom11807 at 12:31 PM on Apr. 11, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 29 (40,703 Credits)
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Answers (10)
  • My daughter is 4 and still can't button/snap her pants, and she's just recently figured out how to zip SOME of her sweatshirts up. Some brands of socks she still struggles with getting on as well.

    When he starts getting really frustrated step in and help him calm down and encourage him to TRY AGAIN. It doesn't have to be perfect, he just has to TRY HIS BEST to do it himself. Then, if he really just can't do it, help him.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 11:56 PM on Apr. 11, 2011

  • Watch his finger placement with fine motor activities; does he hold a fork, pencil, etc. awkwardly? If yes, have him evaluated. If not just keep working with him, praise every little thing he does independently and make becoming a big boy very special. Try adding zipper pulls to make them easier velcro shoes.

    Answer by Kimedbs at 12:46 PM on Apr. 11, 2011

  • Help him but make HIM feel like he CAN. Do it regardless if he can or not ......take his hand and help him pull up the zipper....when putting on clothes explain what your doing. Left arm in , right arm in, my be give him easier choices...slip on shoes pants with no buttons or snaps.....see if that helps if not DEFINITELY talk to your Ped. about it.

    Answer by MamaRudolph at 12:51 PM on Apr. 11, 2011

  • I like what the PP's said. Kids develop their neurolical connections at different rates . . .and some take alot longer to develop those fine-motor connections. If you notice that pencil and utensil grip seems awkward, he could probably be very much helped by some occupational therapy (the ped can start the process). This helps those connections get going.

    But, alonf the same lines as MK was saying, it is common for 3 yr olds to still be unable to do jacket and shoes . . . they are still learning to negotiate their bodies well.

    Answer by ImaginationMama at 12:54 PM on Apr. 11, 2011

  • My 3 and a half year old cannot get dressed or shoes on by herself. She can pull her pants down and up to use the potty by herself. He just can't do it yet and he won't do it if he is getting so upset. Just get him dressed for now, there are bigger battles to fight. This some try some croc shoes that he can slip on his foot. Put his feet in his pants and have him pull them up, but dont force anything...that never goes very far.

    Answer by MKSers at 12:48 PM on Apr. 11, 2011

  • I used to have a doll named Dressy Bessy,, I am sure they still make something out there with zippers, buttons, and snaps, get one for him and have him practicemm my son is six and still sometimes gets frustrated buttoning things,, just be patient mamma, I think he is a bit young to expect him to do it all by himself,, perhaps do one thing at a time,, let him put on his own pants, and you do the jacket,,, good luck!

    Answer by kimigogo at 1:27 PM on Apr. 11, 2011

  • i would make it a game grab a bunch of clothes and have him attempt to put them on. or dress up items. reward him, also include hats and gloves, socks and other items. my two year old three next month changes her clothes 15 times a day. not fun for me, but fun for her. maybe invest in a few dress up items, and or place smilar items in your size out, and practice getting dressed together.

    Answer by cmerc19 at 4:54 PM on Apr. 11, 2011

  • my dd does all that by herself and still has sum problems with somethings but have u tried talk to your doc about him haveing any learning diabilities? that could be a small role in it..everyone learns at thier own rate try for example i didnt learn to walk til i was like 22mnths i think my mom told me cuz everyone wanted to hold me lol so mayb u try doing one thing at a time work on either clothes or shoes first and when he does it by himself no help from u or dad give him a reward!!! that might help..Good luck

    Answer by rachel216 at 7:27 PM on Apr. 11, 2011

  • We actually have had him evaluated through ECI - he was DX with severe anxiety and sensory issues but they said he holds his crayons/pens like an average child his age, however my daycare provider seems to think they are wrong and that he should be able to hold his crayons better by now -he does get SO proud of himself when he can or does do it but I just feel terrible watching him beg for me to help him - these are also already velcro shoes.. that's what I don't understand.

    Comment by maxsmom11807 (original poster) at 12:50 PM on Apr. 11, 2011

  • Thanks Ladies, I guess it wouldn't be a problem as bad if DH didn't expect him or think it was time for him to do it all on his own by now.. He's a bit tough and I am a bit soft, so as a couple, we are also trying to learn to parent together and figure out what is best for our son but we still battle at a lot of things because we seem to be so different in parenting lol!~ In that same breath, I would dress him until he was 5 and not think about it at all until my DC provider mentioned he should at least start learning lol!~ first time Mommy mistake babying my son I guess..

    Comment by maxsmom11807 (original poster) at 1:49 PM on Apr. 11, 2011