Self-help skills for children can sometimes need a little encouragement.
I get it. Jammies are super comfortable, and these days, we have nowhere to go. (sigh) But let’s bring out the stuffed animals because is time to revitalize self-help skills for our children.
This was exactly the motivation my toddler needs to start the day in something other than his favorite Cookie Monster pajama bottoms.
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Wait. What are the self-help skills my child needs to practice?
Self-help skills are everyday tasks that children need to practice in order to make them become a habit.
We can begin working on these skills with our toddlers now and continue to practice over the next few years. We want our children to enter Kindergarten with the confidence that they can accomplish small tasks on their own. This helps leave plenty of room to learn new information and problem-solve the bigger topics.
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A shortlist of self-help skills:
- getting dressed
- brushing teeth
- using the bathroom on their own
- participating in small cleanup tasks
- washing hands
- preparing food
- pouring drinks with a steady hand
These self-help skills are a great way for our children to gain the confidence that will help them feel believe in themselves.
Self-help activities such as this activity to practice pouring, scooping, and practicing self-control throughout the sensory play are also fun ways to practice these skills listed above. Now is time to practice getting dressed!
I know. Getting our children to get dressed at home can be a struggle.
My two older children know that on a school day, they must be dressed prior to coming down the stairs. We are on week three with school at home and this seems to be working. We keep the weekends much more relaxed to help gear up for the new week.
My three-year-old on the other hand sometimes has a different agenda.
Now, where I totally understand his desire to stay in jammies, I also want to find a fun way to help motivate him to move along getting dressed.
So I called in the big guns; his bear.
First, I let my three-year-old give each article of clothing a try. I was close by sipping my tea in case he needed an extra hand. It is important to allow your toddler to try before jumping in as well as showing you are happy to assist.
My three-year-old loves taking care of his bear.
So naturally, this was a great way to help him feel in charge. My three-year-old’s job was to get the bear dressed, and then he instinctively moved right into getting himself dressed as well. Win. Win.
Even better is the fact that everything you already need is probably in your toddler’s room.
Quick Tip: Do you have a smaller sized shirt or pants? Try using something that matches the size of your stuffed animal. If you only have toddler sized clothes, that will work as well.
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I added two unique items to the set-up.
I added a visual checklist for my toddler to follow. As he put the clothes on his bear, his job was to check it off the list. This also introduced a sequential order.
As my three-year-old dressed his bear, I casually introduced transition words such as, first, next, then, and finally.
I also added a box and called it the bears, “closet”. This helped my little caregiver role-play a little deeper into imaginary play as he was dressing his bear.
When my toddler finishes dressing his bear, I say, “Great job! Now it is YOUR turn! Go grab your clothes like Beary!”. The goal is that this fun activity prompts my three-year-old into doing the same.
Helping our children with self-help skills takes practice and patience. This is a fun way to get started to help them feel confident!
Grab your toddler and your bear to practice getting dressed today!