Children have to learn to be independent in their daily routine, as one of their developmental tasks. We can begin this process from toddlerhood, by teaching them a few self help skills. By 24 months, your toddler has learnt simple motor skills and the ability to follow simple instructions; and is ready to start baby steps in learning self care skills (SCS), such as bathing and brushing her teeth among other skills. Remember to persist over time, in this endeavor, as she might need your help/ supervision, till about four years of age!
Just let her:
- observe the SCSs
- Learn and practice till she masters them
Between 15 and 24 months, your toddler can take off some of her clothes. You can then advance this task by asking her to follow simple instructions, such as putting her hand in the sleeve or a leg in the trouser. Around 24 months, she can put on a loose garment by herself.
However it is only by age 4 or 5 that she will be able to dress independently.
Washing hands before and after meals
To help pick up this hygienic habit, you may start with washing and wiping your toddler’s mouth and hands, before and after meals, till she starts doing this under supervision. You may wipe the mouth with a wet tissue paper as an alternative or till she learns to rinse her mouth with help.
Around 18 months, your toddler will be able to carry her cutlery or a lightweight plate to the dining table. Likewise, she will be able to use a spoon and a sipper cup.
After another six months or so, your toddler will be able to help clear her plate from the table.
Are you listening mom?
It is easy for you to figure out the process after reading the above section. It will make your task easier if you start with demos in front of a mirror and allow the child to continue to use the mirror for as long as it takes.
Since your toddler enjoys helping and imitating adults, start her participation by letting her:
- Carry her own towel to the bathroom
- Soap some parts of her body with a washcloth
- Pour water over herself , with a small mug, while you bathe her.
Some points to remember
- It is beneficial to your toddler’s learning and remembering the self care tasks if you verbalize an action when doing it .E.g.” Okay now let us rinse your mouth”.
- Be patient with your toddler as she needs lots of observation and practice for mastering a task. After that it may just take a gentle reminder to keep your toddler on track.
- Always remember that your toddler has her own developmental pace of learning and that she is doing the task for the first time.
- Last, but not the least, remember that when a child is learning a new task, she may not focus on a second new task you want her to learn. Therefore, wait and watch before introducing the second new task.
HAPPY PARENTING DEAR MOM !