As parents we create routines and habits to make our days run more efficiently. From packing the lunch the night before, laying out clothes or giving our kiddo foods that are quick and simple to eat, we find ways to make raising young kids more streamlined.
We are all for making life less stressful and chaotic at home. That said, change is the name of the game with young kids. While we may have a system that works for us as the adults, children change and grow in ways that make them ready to take on some of the work. Is it slower? Yup. Is it possibly messier? You bet.
As preschool teachers, we aim to support young children in gaining independence skills, particularly in self-care. From dressing, to wiping, to clean-up, we create environments that allow children to practice and master self-care skills.
How can you do the same at home, without completely messing up your efficient routines?
Just like when you potty train, carve out times to self-care train. The weekends or in the evenings when things are possibly less crunched for time could be best.
Pick one skill and focus on that.
Make it playful by trying some of the hacks listed below.
If your child isn’t getting the hang of the skill after some time and practice, put it aside and try again when they are a little older.
What skills can you work on?
Putting on jacket, mittens, hat
Putting on socks
Putting on shoes
Using a tissue
Zipping, buttoning, snapping
Taking off jacket
Taking off shoes or boots
Try these hacks to make practice playful:
For dressing practice: Place small toys in a long sock. Invite your little one to reach in and pull them out one at a time.
For putting on socks: Gather scrunchies/loose hair ties. Have child sit on floor and have them practice putting hair ties over foot and pull up to the ankle.
For putting on jacket: Flip-Flop-Over-the Top trick - lay jacket on the floor, standing at the hood/collar side. Reach down, putting arms in sleeve opening. Holding arms straight, pull over head and onto shoulders.
For building muscles to snap/button: Cut up a sponge into small cubes (¼ inch size.) Use a deli-style container with lid. Punch small holes in the lid and place back on container. Have fun in tub or sink by floating small sponges and have kiddos push them through the holes.
For tissue practice: This skill takes time! Try it when they are not sick. Set up a mirror where they can see themselves. Model how you can use your nose to blow air to move the tissue. Have them practice while looking in the mirror. The sillier the better when teaching this one!
Try out some of our hacks and let us know how it goes!