Monday, December 6, 2010

Self-Help Skills

This is a short article I wrote and shared with my families this year. We've been having a few issues with parents wanting to do for their child instead of letting them learn to do it. They are always surprised at what their children are capable of, or what Miss Kim can get them to do!

The Object of teaching a child is to enable the child to get along without the teacher.
One of the things I work on with the children on an ongoing basis from the day they start coming to Tootsie Bear Day Care & Preschool is self-help skills. These skills will serve them well when they leave my care and begin kindergarten, elementary school and in life.

Some of the habits I try to instill in the children include
-Asking for help when needed (in full sentences i.e. “Can you help me with my zipper please?”).
-Accomplishing dressing/undressing tasks to the best of their ability (while stretching their abilities).
-Cleaning up after themselves (toys, nap mats, dishes at meal times, etc.).

Often, children are capable of much more than we think they are, they just need a little prodding and a lot of patience from us. When they succeed at a task, they have the chance to feel good about themselves and their abilities.

Some tips:
-Allow your child to struggle a little to accomplish a task. If they truly can’t do it, have them ask for help rather than just taking over for them. Encourage them to keep trying.
-Talk them through the skills they have difficulty with, physically helping as little as possible.
-Praise any step they can accomplish on their own.
-Discuss with them how the things they do for themselves help the family.
-Work the time for being patient into your schedule. This is often the biggest issue. While it is difficult to wait for a child while they struggle to ‘do it myself’ practice is the best way for them to learn the new skill. Plus, the more often they get to try, the better (and faster) they will get at it!

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