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Choosing appropriate clothing for your infant is conducive to freedom of movement

Choosing appropriate clothing for your infant is conducive to freedom of movement

We hinder infants’ motor development when we dress them in ways that make it hard for them to find their natural positions and balance. We must remember that the goal is the children’s freedom to move”. Emmi Pikler

As babies begin to interact with their environment and develop their mobility, it is imperative that we first provide a secure environment. This space must be 100% safe and free of any harm, therefore welcoming infants to explore confidently. To complement their natural ability to move freely, appropriate clothing plays a key role. Clothes should be comfortable and provide necessary warmth, giving infants an opportunity to carry on with their exploration. One way of showing our respect to young children is by letting them know that we value their individual level of motor development as well as their comfort.

Some points to consider:

  • Avoid buttons on the back of his body. A baby should feel at ease when lying supine.

  • Fabric should be supple to support flexibility of joints. Denim is not recommended.

  • Simple articles of clothing shall provide necessary warmth or coolness according to the changing seasons.

  • Babies do not need shoes when exploring their environment.
    - Non-mobile infants can wear booty socks for added warmth.
    - Bare feet are recommended for mobile infants learning how to crawl or walk. If weather is cold, socks with non-skid soles or soft leather moccasins provide reliable traction.

  • Dresses interfere with a crawling baby’s natural ability to move as her knees can get caught in the fabric. It is our responsibility to support our babies’ freedom to move with the appropriate environment, clothing, and the invitation to feel pleasure in the discovery of her locomotion.

Elsa Chahin
RIE® Associate, Pikler® Trainer, and President of Pikler/Loczy Fund USA pikler.or