Independence with Self Care
What our therapists say!
Have you ever though "I'm just going to do it, it'll be quicker if I do it myself" when dressing your child, or getting through a mealtime? Helping your child develop their independence with self-care skills like feeding, dressing, and brushing their teeth takes A LOT of patience...but it pays off in the long run! Here are our tips to help.
Backward Chaining: It can be intimidating for some children to be expected to complete a routine from start to finish right away. Instead, start by having your child complete the last step in a routine, and then slowly chain backward adding more steps as your child becomes independent. Experiencing success when learning a new skill is essential, and smaller steps can help achieve this.
Visuals: Using visuals at home to support self-care tasks can be very important to many of our children who are visual learners, struggle with planning, or have difficulties processing language. By providing visuals children can clearly see the steps of a routine, and the information remains visual for them, unlike verbal messages which disappear.
Allow time: As adults, we often are quick to jump in when we can see our kiddos struggling, or when we're keen to get something done quickly! It's important to remember that learning new skills takes time, and we need to allow our children the time they need to move through and learn self-care routines.
Wait for your child to ask for help: As adults, our instincts are often to jump in when we see our kids struggling. The more we jump in, the less likely kids are to develop problem solving and critical thinking skills when faced with difficult tasks, instead, they'll be waiting for someone to just do it for them. Instead of jumping in right away, allow children to give things a go on their own. Then if help is needed, encourage them to request help rather than just providing it. This way they learn the importance of communicating with others and seeking help once it's truly needed.