Kindergarten Self Care Skills
We often think of self-care skills of being something that children just pick up on, either by copying adults, or as a natural progression of growing up. These skills are things, as adults, we take for granted – everyday tasks that come naturally to us. However, we all had to learn them at some point and they pave the way for many life skills, and for school-related tasks.
Self-care is the first area of life where children are given the independence to make choices, carry out tasks and plan routines for themselves. However, to carry out these tasks – they need a foundation to work with. This is where parents come in!
Self-help and self-care skills can be grouped into four main areas:
The early this is started the better! By offering finger foods, this is a great first step to self-feeding. Introducing cutlery should be done using child-sized items and allowing plenty of time and opportunity to practice.
Children can struggle to learn to dress if there are frustrating items of clothing involved, such as zips and buttons, so this should be started from base layers (pants and socks). Make sure to give plenty of positive encouragement along the way.
Hygiene including toilet skills
There is no exact age a child will become ready to use the toilet so do not be discourage by other parents and their toilet trained one-year-old! Look out for longer periods of dry diapers, interest in using the toilet and go from there.
Encourage children to wash their hands before eating, after touching animals, etc. Make it a routine and it should fall into place easily.
Helping with household cleaning and activities
Not only does helping with household chores make children feel more grown up – it teaches them valuable life skills that will help with independence in teen years and adulthood. Young children can help with tasks, such as dusting and tiding toys.
Although I have mentioned four MAIN areas above, there are a lot more ways you could help your child prepare for the world and school. These skills are grouped into 5 different areas:
Social and Emotional Development
Often, children can become frustrated easily when they realise that they are unable to perform a task. You can teach your child to react to these situations in a positive manner – try aiming for tasks that are a little higher than your child’s ability level, and teach your child that they can ask for help if they are struggling, and not to worry about asking.
When you read to your child (roughly around 20 minutes a day) – teach your child how a book should be held, how to read left-to-right, and the order pages should be turned. Do not forget to ask your child questions after sharing a book together so you can learn how much your child absorbed – for example, what happened at the beginning? Middle? End?
Household items can lend themselves as manipulatives when you are wanting to teach your child colors, shapes, numerals and sizes. You could ask your child to help you sort your laundry into whites and darks – and count how many items are in each pile, or try finding items in your house that are different shapes.
Physical Development (Gross and Motor Skills)
A great task that covers gross and motor skills, as well as learning how to write, is to teach your child how to write their name. Show them the difference between uppercase and lowercase letters, and how their name must begin with an uppercase letter. You can use sand to write letters in, stack blocks into letters, and help your child to trace letters with a pencil.
Always have a great range of fantasy dress up costumes so you child’s imagination can power into action. Encourage imaginative play as much as you can, as this is a great life skill which will help your child throughout life.