Your little one is not so little anymore! Seems like they are learning something new nearly every day, so now is the perfect time to help them learn some life skills. Here are some of the skills to be working on during the preschool years:
Passage of Time
Your preschooler might not be ready to read a clock yet, but using terms like morning, afternoon, and night can prepare them for learning about time. For example, you can tell them that you’ll have waffles for breakfast in the morning. Mention that mom or dad come home from work in the afternoon.
You don’t need to have a strict schedule, but having certain routines is often helpful. Even something as simple as a morning routine of making your bed, eating breakfast, and then brushing your teeth helps preschoolers know what to expect. It also lays the foundation for time management skills in the future! You can even use simple pictures and create a visual “schedule” for your child.
Skills like getting dressed and basic hygiene may require a bit of patience on your part, but it’s important to help your preschooler master them! Getting undressed is usually not much of a problem, but getting dressed is a bit trickier. If your child is reluctant to dress themselves, try letting them pick out their own clothing for the day. They may have a mismatched outfit, but they are more likely to look forward to dressing themselves if they are allowed to pick out their own clothes.
Hand washing, combing hair, and brushing teeth are things that they may still need help with, but as they practice they will require less and less help. Patience is the key here! Sure, it would be much faster and less water would be splashed if you just brush your preschooler’s teeth yourself, but it’s better to step back and let them do as much as they can by themselves first. Most kids this age are pretty eager to “do it myself!”
Many kids naturally transition into alternating feet when walking up or down stairs. Some kids may need a little extra practice though. Try turning it into a game and having them practice walking up and down stairs with you. If they are having trouble with the concept of alternating feet, put a different colored shoe or sock on each foot. What fun to march up and down the stairs while chanting, “Red foot, blue foot!”
Some kids take to forks and spoons with no problem, but other kids have a harder time. Eating together can make a big difference! Seeing the proper use of eating utensils modeled by other family members will encourage preschoolers to copy that behavior. Encourage them to try using their own fork and spoon. Giving them kid-sized utensils can also make it easier for little ones. This is another case where patience comes in handy!
Toddlers seem to have their own language, but by this age, clearer speech patterns should be emerging. Sometimes it’s only a particular sound that a child has trouble with. Doing an internet search for ways to practice that sound or asking your pediatrician for tips might be all that’s needed in that case. Don’t hesitate to ask about speech therapy though if you really believe that your child needs help beyond what you can provide. No one knows them better than you do!
The preschool years are such an exciting time for kids and parents. The life skills that they are learning now will benefit them for many years to come!