Using ScratchSleeves

What can my child do while wearing ScratchSleeves?

One of the questions often asked by our customers is “how will wearing ScratchSleeves impact on what my child can do?” – the answer is they don’t make much difference to what little ones can get up to at all. The mitts of ScratchSleeves are designed to be large enough for children to be able to use their hands naturally, without being so large or bulky that the mitts themselves get in the way. With a bit of practice most children will be able to build Duplo towers, turn the pages of a book and manipulate dummies and toys.

Having said all this, when you are sitting with your child it’s worth removing the ScratchSleeves so they can play unimpeded.  This is exactly what we did with our son and one of the reasons we have made ScratchSleeves easy for an adult to put on and take off.  We just had to remember to put the ScratchSleeves back on before turning our backs as it only seemed to take him 5 seconds to scratch himself.

Reluctant wearers

Children are wonderful but, like all humans, they can be wary of new things. Trying to wrestle a reluctant child (of any age) into a pair of ScratchSleeves is no different to any other unpopular item of clothing. As with all other unpopular things the key is to make your child want to wear them. While older children will understand that ScratchSleeves can help and will usually give them a try without too much fuss, toddlers and pre-schoolers can be more tricky to persuade. Here are some of the best ploys we have heard of or used ourselves:

  • Getting children to feel the how cool and soft silk the silk feels when they rub their cheek but putting your hand in the mitt (if it will fit) and stroking their cheek with the silk
  • Use peer-pressure and hero worship to your advantage and enlist the aid of older children to feign jealously or to encourage reluctant little ones to try ScratchSleeves on
  • Try ‘selling’ the new ScratchSleeves as ‘clappy hands’, they made a great sound when you try clapping in them
  • All the Disney princesses wear long gloves: ScratchSleeves make great princess gloves
  • Super Hero gloves – have you noticed that Super Heroes always wear gloves (with the notable exception of Super Man)
  • ScratchSleeves can turn hands into animal paws just like Captain Barnacles or Kung Fu Panda, you can even draw the paws on with fabric pens. And by happy coincidence, the blue Special Edition ScratchSleeves go really well with regular Paw Patrol PJs…
  • Pre-school children often respond well to a sticker chart or a challenge like building a Duplo tower with ScratchSleeves on, especially when competing against a grown-up wearing winter mittens or socks over their hands.

It’s useful to know that before the age of 3 any attempt to reason with children is going to have limited success. The frontal lobes of the brain, which deal with sense and self control, have simply not developed yet and so toddlers and younger pre-schoolers live in the moment. As a result, explaining that they shouldn’t scratch will have little effect as scratching feels so good when you’re itching. To give you some hope for the long term it’s not uncommon for older children (ours included) to ask for their ScratchSleeves when they are itchy.

Keeping them on

ScratchSleeves are designed to put easy for parents or carers to put on and difficult for little ones to take off. However, there are some determined escapologists out there so here are some tips you may find useful:

  • Put ScratchSleeves on under a light T-shirt, sleepsuit or PJ top
  • Baby sleeping bags also keep ScratchSleeves firmly in place
  • Use ScratchSleeves with dungarees or a pinafore dress and thread the ScratchSleeves under the straps. This makes them very tricky to take off without help, but they can be removed by an adult without the need to remove extra layers of clothing.
  • At night-time, try using our PJ tops instead of ScratchSleeves or combining with our dungaree style PJ bottoms.


This short video demonstrates just how easy ScratchSleeves are to use with babies, toddlers and older children and shares some top tips for ensuring that the wearers can’t take them off without help.

Please note: If your baby able to wriggle easily out of the sleeves then you may need a different size. Our sizing is based on averages and obviously babies are little individuals who come in all different shapes and sizes. If the sleeves are too loose you may need to go down a size, please contact us as we are always happy to exchange or refund any unused items. It may be that your little one has a narrow back which can also cause ScratchSleeves to slip off. If this is the case we can custom make sets specifically to fit and overcome this issue. Just drop us a line on to arrange.