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How to put on socks

By the age of 2 to 3 years, children can remove their socks. By 3 to 4 years, children begin to show more independence when getting dressed.

How to help a child with putting their socks on

Start out with stretchy ankle socks. Have a few in the same style to provide consistency for your child’s practice. You could also have pairs that with different coloured toe and ankle spaces.

If your child struggles, ask them to try dressing dolls, or using larger socks. Show them how to do it and remember to slow it down.

Step 1

Get your child to sit on the floor or a low stool depending on their balance.

Step 2

Using their thumbs on the inside of the sock, show the child how to gather the sock between their thumb and fingers of both hands until they reach the toe.

Child with their thumbs inside their sock

Step 3

Place the sock over the toes. You may need to do this initially for the child.

Child placing the sock over their toes

Step 4

Pull the sock down over the length of the foot. Keep a consistent grip especially around the heel.

Step 5

Use the thumbs and fingers to pull the sock up around ankle.

Child using their fingers and thumb to pull the sock over the ankle

Step 6


Child's foot fully in the sock


Strategies and tips

Use phrases such as ‘pinch and pull.’

For younger children, instead of telling them to ‘pull up’ or ‘push down’, quietly guide their hand by placing yours over the top of theirs, in the direction they need to move.  You will do the movement and they get the experience of movement needed to complete the task.

Demonstrating socks will require you to sit behind your child so that they can feel and see the necessary movement.  Once they understand, you no longer need to sit behind them.

Sensitivities to seams

If your child is sensitives to seams, try seamless socks or try wearing the socks inside out.

Backward chaining

If your child still struggles, you could try the backward chaining method to approach the task.