One small step toward independence for a youngster includes mastering dressing skills. According to a web page on the Illinois State University website, children between the ages of 5 and 7 have muscle control and balance, and are capable of learning how to zip a zipper. Parents can help their children develop this fine-motor skill at home with a little patience and plenty of loving guidance.
Pick out a jacket for yourself and one for your child that each have a zipper. Before teaching your child how to zip the zipper, demonstrate it on your own jacket. Do this several times so your child can get a clear visual of how zipper-zipping is done. This is especially important for children who are visual learners. While you demonstrate, point out the zipper pull and the teeth of the zipper.
Attach a keyring to the zipper pull on your child's jacket. This will make it easier for your child's tiny fingers to operate the zipper.
Place your hand over your child's hand and guide him into placing the zipper pull over the teeth at the bottom end of his jacket, after ensuring that the teeth on either side of the zipper match up. You should have his thumb and pointer finger clasping the zipper pull or key ring. Now instruct him to pull upward. Once the jacket is zipped, you can reverse the steps to unzip the jacket. Repeat a few times using the hand-over-hand assistance.
Give your child some time to practice zippering on her own. She can do this with her jacket or a special doll that is made for practicing dressings skills.
- Practice on clothing or items such as a backpack that have larger zippers when your child first starts learning how to zip. Then move on to smaller zippers.
- Never punish your child for not conquering the art of zipping a zipper. Children learn at their own pace and your child will eventually be able to zip his own jacket.
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