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Self-Help Skills for Preschoolers

Preparing a child for kindergarten and education starts with learning independent skills. When your preschool aged child is ready to start school, you want to ensure that he or she feels comfortable with basic life skills. Self-help skills give your preschooler the tools to prepare for the upcoming school year.

Potty Training

A key part of preparing for kindergarten is teaching your children to use the bathroom without help. A child will have limited options at school and should be fully potty trained before starting kindergarten.

Teaching your child to use the toilet starts at a young age. You want to start during the toddler years and ensure that your child has mastered the use of a real toilet before kindergarten. Give your child incentives to use the toilet without help and encourage independent behaviors.

Getting Dressed

Getting dressed without parental assistance gives your child the confidence to start school. Allow your child to select clothing items and then let him or her work on getting dressed without help.

Expect a few attempts and mistakes when your child starts getting dressed without help. Praise your children when they dress without help, even if they end up with an inside-out shirt or shoes on the wrong feet. They will learn to avoid mistakes as they practice the skill.

Washing Their Hands

Always encourage your children to wash their hands before and after a meal. Give them a step to reach the sink and let them work on washing their hands without your help. Pay attention to their first attempts without parental assistance to ensure their safety. You should also make sure they understand the appropriate dials for hot and cold water to prevent accidents or injuries.

Eating Meals

Encourage your child to eat without your help throughout the preschool years. They should know how to use a spoon and other utensils before starting kindergarten, so you want to encourage eating without help. Let them use the spoon without your assistance and encourage them to eat with their hands when eating a sandwich or similar meals.

When your child shows picky tendencies and does not want to eat without help, consider working with your child’s curiosity. Allow your child to help prepare the meal. They will enjoy the process, learn basic skills in the kitchen and will remain enthusiastic when eating a meal.

Cleaning Up Their Toys

Chores are an essential self-help skill that builds your child’s self-esteem and confidence. Cleaning up their toys or handling other chores around your home gives them a sense of responsibility. It also shows that you trust your child to keep up with the standards you set around the home.

Set clear chores for your child. Tell them to clean up their toys or to clean up other messes. When they are young and just starting preschool, give them encouragement and teach them where to place their toys. When they get older, move away from the chores and allow them to handle the task without your help. 

Establish Clear Rules

As your child moves through the toddler years, he or she will gain more independence and self-help skills. Encourage your child to try out new skills and keep working on their developing skills. By the end of the preschool years, your child should understand your home’s rules for their behavior. Set the rules and make sure your child understands their rules to prepare for kindergarten.

Preschoolers are ready to start working toward independent tasks and behaviors. By teaching self-help skills and then allowing your child to work on the skills without your help, you encourage them to try again when they make mistakes. It allows them to feel independent before they start school.

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