8 Ways to Teach Self-Help to Preschoolers
8 Ways to Teach Self-Help to Preschoolers!
Self-help skills are those skills that are necessary for a child to take care of himself/herself and manage his/her needs.
Children should be taught independence from the very beginning. Independence makes the children feel confident and encourages them to take responsibility for themselves and their actions. Most parents would think its quicker, easier and less messy if they did things for their children. But what parents don’t realize is that they are creating hindrances for the child’s development by not letting them do things on their own.
By practising self-help skills, children refine their gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Their self-esteem also significantly increases as children become more confident in their abilities and begin believing in themselves.
For self-help skills, it is crucial for children to have hand and finger strength, expressive language, and ability to comply with directions.
By the age of four, children should be able to do the following things on their own:
- Drink water from a glass on his/her own
- Remove shoes and socks
- Eat on his/her own
- Express the need to use the bathroom
- Be able to take and put toys back in their place
- Be able to brush his/her teeth with little assistance
- Respond when someone says his/her name
Here are 8 ways you can teach self-help skills to preschoolers:
1. Give your child your complete attention. If you are trying to manage two things at once, both things will be half-done. Instead, focus on achieving one thing with your child. Help him/her.
2. Get down on their level. So if you are trying to teach your children how to wear socks and remove them, demonstrate the same to them and then let them give it a try.
3. Break down the skill into small steps. Give specific directions for each step. For example, if you want your child to brush his/her teeth, break the activity into several steps like turn on the tap, washing the toothbrush, switch off the tap, applying toothpaste, brush the teeth, spit, turn the water on, gargle, clean tongue, turn the tap off and keep the toothbrush in its place.
4. Utilize picture schedules that are easily available on the internet. A pictorial representation helps children remember the steps to an activity. Don’t forget to hang these picture schedules where the activity takes place. For example, hang the picture schedule of washing hands right above the basin in your child’s bathroom.
5. For each step that your children successfully complete, encourage and praise them. This will give them the motivation to do the next step better.
6. Remember that your child is still learning. He/she is bound to make mistakes. Don’t get upset when the children make mistakes. Instead, teach them how they can learn from their mistake and how to be careful the next time.
7. Be patient with your children. They are trying to learn.
8. Don’t forget to celebrate every time your child successfully learns a skill. This doesn’t have to be a fancy celebration. Bake a treat for them or indulge in their favourite movie together.
At ‘Shanti Juniors’, we encourage children to take the initiative to participate in all activities and if they come across a hurdle, we are there to support and stand by them every step of the way.