Your curious, insightful 3-year-old is changing and growing daily. Aside from the many fine-motor skills your tot already possesses, according to the University of Tennessee Extension, your 3- or 4-year-old is ready to take on the task of dressing himself. This involves buttoning the button on his pants, which might seem too daunting of a task -- at first. When it comes to the art of buttoning buttons, lead by example and comfort your toddler through all the frustration because eventually, he will triumph.
Grab anything around your home that features large buttons. If you don’t have anything, consider removing the existing buttons from an old dress shirt and replacing them with larger ones. Several teaching stuffed toys and soft books are available that feature large buttons intended to improve your toddler’s technique and fine-motor skills.
Sit down with your toddler and show him how to use the button. Move slowly and explain every step. Repeat buttoning and unbuttoning the shirt or toy several times. If you toddler is apprehensive, grab his hand and gently show him how to perform the act of buttoning the buttons. If he’s eager, allow him to try on his own. If your toddler becomes frustrated, walk away from the lesson and try again later that day or the next.
Continue to work with your toddler daily until he masters both buttoning and unbuttoning the shirt, toy or soft book. Your child might master unbuttoning first, and become frustrated with the buttoning. If this occurs, provide a helping hand and continue to give him demonstrations. It might take several days or weeks before your toddler masters both buttoning and unbuttoning.
Help your toddler button and unbutton his pants. Because the button is smaller, it might take him several days or weeks to accomplish this feat. However, once your toddler is able to pull up and button his own pants, offer him plenty of praise, hugs and high-fives.