Thanks to our guest blogger, Erica Cardamone, speech-language pathologist, talking expert, and new blogger at, whose mission is to provide parents with the same knowledge and tools that we use during speech therapy, to build and enhance their children’s language. Check out her wonderful resource for parent tips and activities to maximize children’s language learning potential.

Its true that early morning and late night activities, like getting dressed, can sometimes be a chore. But in 30 seconds, you can be that ideal language model for your child, to increase vocabulary and further speech and language development.

In 30 seconds you can repeat the same word or phrase to maximize new word learning up to 5 times! And if you do the same thing, once a day… your child is bound to add that word to their vocabulary.

Here are some target words and concepts to try out when dressing your little one:

Object Words               Action Words          Concepts

Shoes                                 Stand up                               On

Socks                                  Sit down                               Off

Pants                                 Give me                                Clean

Shirt                                   Find                                      Dirty

Button                                Put on                                   Mine

Zipper                                Take off                                 Yours

Hat                                     Tie

Pajamas                               Push

Head, arm, hand, leg, foot     Pull

You can work both on comprehension and use, of particular vocabulary words. Have your child “find socks” or “find pants” amongst the pile of the day’s outfit. Be sure to narrate what you’re doing as your child gets dressed, for example “Shirt off, take out this arm, take out this arm… shirt off.” You can also incorporate teaching and reinforcement of body parts when getting dressed.

For the older toddler (2-3 years), you can begin to reinforce colors (identifying, matching, and naming colors) and begin teaching concepts of different clothing that will keep them cool/warm.

If you’re wondering if your child is “on-track” with speech and language milestones, you can find some great resources here.

Getting dressed is also a teaching moment for fine and gross motor activities, so encourage their independence! Some basic milestones include:

12-18 months – starting to get undressed

18-24 months – can get completly undressed without help

2-3 years – put on socks and shirt

3-4 years – get dressed and undressed with minimal help

4-5 years – dress independently, including zippers, buttons and buckles

5-7 years  – tie shoes