That jacket zipper will be a piece of cake with a little practice.

How to Teach a Child to Zip a Zipper

by Kathryn Hatter

Most preschoolers learn at such a fast pace that it’s no wonder they’re such little dynamos. From gross-motor skills such as climbing and skipping to fine-motor skills such as zipper-zipping, your little one might amaze you with her energy to learn and expand her field of knowledge. If a zipper is perplexing your kid, give it some special attention and she’ll soon be zipping like a pro.

Slip on a coat or hoodie with a front zipper onto your tot. Unzip the zipper. Slip a coat or hoodie onto yourself so you can demonstrate zipping while your child tries it, too.

Explain the different parts of the zipper to your child so he understands the basic components. The zipper pieces include the pull and the tongue. The pull is the part that you move up and down to zip and unzip the zipper. The tongue is the part that fits into the zipper pull.

Show your child how to hold the pull between one thumb and index finger and the tongue between the other thumb and index finger. Insert the tongue into the pull, fitting it in snugly. As you push the tongue into the pull, hold the tongue side tightly between the finger and thumb. While still holding the tongue, move the pull up with the other hand.

Help your tot try with her own zipper. As she sticks the tongue into the pull, urge her to push it in as far as possible so the zipper starts correctly. Ensure that she’s holding the tongue side tightly as she moves the pull to zip.

Watch as your child unzips the zipper. As the pull comes down to the bottom, he should tug out the tongue to separate the two sides.

Give lots of encouragement and high-fives when your tot keeps trying and then successfully zips and unzips a zipper. The positive reinforcement will motivate a kid to keep trying until she learns the skill.


  • If your kid gets frustrated, suggest a break from zipping. Any time frustration enters the equation, it can be hard to keep trying successfully. After a change of scenery and a snack, your child might be ready to try again.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images