As parents, we want to do everything possible to ensure that our kids grow up to become healthy and happy individuals. As they explore and navigate the world, we play an important role in guiding them through their journey. One of the ways we can help them gain independence is by equipping them with important self-help skills.
Teaching toddlers essential life skills that help them do things on their own is a vital step of healthy growth and development. Gaining independence increases children’s confidence, empowers them to try new things, maximizes their potential, and inspires them to do more. Read on and learn about a few essential ways you can encourage your toddler to develop important self-help skills.
Provide opportunities for exploration
Toddlers are curious by nature, and they love to explore their surroundings. In order to encourage your little one to develop independence, you need to provide them with plenty of opportunities to discover – both indoors and outside. During playtime, surround children with puzzles and other tactile toys. Let them run around outside. As they explore, they will learn all sorts of new things as they figure out how to complete various tasks on their own.
Independent play is also an excellent way for children to develop important self-help skills. Let your toddler play with age-appropriate toys, such as puzzles, blocks, and dolls. These activities help children learn how to problem-solve, which is an important component of independence.
One of the most essential self-help skills toddlers need to learn is how to feed themselves. Not only does this teach them independence, but it also enhances their overall growth and development of fine motor skills.
To encourage self-feeding, start by giving toddlers easy-to-eat finger foods that they can pick up and put in their own mouths. Introduce using a spoon and fork gradually, and allow them plenty of time to practice. Let them be as independent as possible during meal times, but be sure to provide help and assistance when needed.
Another important set of self-help skills that toddlers need to learn includes getting themselves dressed and grooming themselves. These skills are especially vital as children near the age of attending school.
Start by giving youngsters pieces of clothing that are fairly easy to put on and take off. For example, see if they can put on their own socks with minimal assistance. As they get older, move on to more complex tasks, such as putting on a shirt or zipping up their pants. Again, assist when needed, but allow them to do as much as possible on their own.
Establish good personal hygiene habits
One of the most important self-help skills toddlers can learn is good hygiene habits. A healthy routine will help them stay healthy and prevent them from getting sick.
To help your toddler learn about good hygiene habits, start early by teaching about hand-washing and brushing teeth. Show children how to do each task, and let them practice. You can even make it into a fun game so they will be more likely to remember the steps, and do it regularly. Also, provide children with their own special personal hygiene products such as children’s soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, and towel.
Enlist their help with chores
Household chores are an essential part of everyday life. A great way to teach your toddler self-help skills is to invite them to help you out with various tasks around your home. These may include asking them to clear their own plates after a meal or taking the dog for a walk.
Start with age-appropriate tasks, and gradually increase the difficulty. Be sure to provide plenty of instruction and assistance when needed. As children complete more tasks, be sure to give praise and recognition so they feel a sense of accomplishment. Let them know how proud you are.
Help them manage their emotions
As toddlers feel a vast array of emotions, they may feel overwhelmed and confused. It is important for parents to provide guidance and support to help them learn how to identify and manage their feelings.
One way to help toddlers deal with emotions is by teaching them self-regulation skills. This can be done through breathing exercises, visualization, and positive self-talk. Help toddlers discover which approach is most effective, and encourage them to use these techniques whenever they feel overwhelmed or upset.
As toddlers master each of these self-help skills, they will gain increased independence and confidence. Be sure to celebrate each milestone, and provide plenty of encouragement along the way.
At Akers Academy, our Toddlers Program keeps children engaged, excited to discover the world around them, and always on the go! Check out more of our Parent Resources for more information https://akersacademy.com/blog/.