Teaching Points: To teach your child how to do this, you can first have him practice on a shirt on a hanger. Your child’s fingers are not yet as nimble as yours, so do consider this when you’re picking out the shirt. Make sure that the shirt you choose is one with big buttons so that it will be easy for him to hold the button, push it into the hole, and slide it through. Children learn best by example, so have him watch you do this first before going through the process together. Button and unbutton the shirt so that your little one will get the hang of this task.
Your child might get frustrated if he is unable to figure out how to work a button, so distract him by telling him a story as you go along. Kids like learning about new things, so you can perhaps tell him why buttons were placed that way on a shirt. If you’re teaching a little boy, you can tell him that hundreds of years ago, before a man could take out his sword from his left side, he had to remove his coat first. Buttons were then placed on the opposite side so that he can unbutton his coat immediately with his left hand, and grab his weapon with his right hand. With little girls, you can tell them how a woman was not allowed to get dressed by herself in the old days. Buttons were then sewn on the left side so that it would be easier for her maid to complete this job.
Be animated during this bonding moment so that your child can see that getting the buttons through the holes doesn’t have to be a complicated task. Also, do remind your child that he looks his best when all the buttons are in their proper place. Don’t forget to give your child a pat on the back for doing a great job.
Thinking Parent, Thinking Child, Myrna D. Shure, Ph.D., 2005