As children get older, they are ready to take on more responsibilities and develop higher level skills. This can come in forms of teaching them simple self-hygiene, like brushing their teeth to avoid cavities to chores around the house to help out and earn an allowance. Children who learn early have shown to grow into self-sufficient adults. When you teach these basic skills at home you can be confident in sending your little one off when college time comes along.
You may not even notice that your own daily choices influence your child. They’re always watching us! Here we’ve listed our top tips for teaching kids simple life skills that will carry into adulthood!
1. Getting Themselves Dressed
It starts simple and it starts young! Children as young as two years old start to develop the fine motor skills necessary for dressing themselves. It could help parents out too. Imagine, getting ready for a day out and your little one can get themselves dressed and ready to go.
You’ll have to guide them at first, but they’ll get the hang of it! Now, practice makes perfect, of course. But those judgement skills on what to wear and in what weather will come into play just below.
2. Decision Making Skills
You should always teach your child that they have a voice! And that they should use it (kindly, of course). Speaking to your child about appropriate dressing like not wearing shorts in winter or that they don’t need their puffy coat during summer, starts their brain processing good decisions versus not so good. You can help them weigh their options and look at the pros and cons. It can be as simple as choosing the side dish for dinner or whether they want vanilla or chocolate ice cream. It may seem obvious to us, but it really helps to grow their critical thinking skills.
3. Time Management
Children don’t have the greatest concept of time yet. Ask a three-year old to wait for five minutes and you might hear “what’s five minutes?”. We can help! Give them something they can compare it to. “You have 5 minutes to get ready, that’s about one episode of Peppa Pig” and you might have more success. Using tools like a timer set on your phone for when their screen time is up or a classic 2-minute sand timer in the bathroom for how long they have to brush their teeth can help grow the concept of time in the little one’s minds.
Once they start to grasp time, and as they get older, they can weigh out their options on how they spend it. This will help them when setting schedules for things like breakfast time before school and personal hygiene before bedtime.
4. Helping Around the House
Helping around the house can start with just picking their toys up and putting them back in the bin. Slowly that could evolve into helping set the table for dinner, gathering up their laundry, or helping prepare dinner. It’s important to start your children off knowing that it takes a team effort to keep the household running smoothly.
This will grow your child’s independence as well. Once they see they can do something for themselves and helping their family their self-confidence gets a boost! If you’re able to give them a sort of allowance after they complete their weekly chores, they can begin to learn about work ethic and pay off. An allowance for a week of chores well done doesn’t have to be a cash payout either, it can be a special treat, a day at the park, or a playdate with friends.
5. Helping with Money Management
If you do decide to give a cash allowance, it’s a great opportunity to help teach children how to save and manage their own money. With an added bonus of helping them grow their math skills, money management will give them an appreciation of earning and spending. If they want a certain toy, they can start a savings jar!
Teaching practical money management for children is a skill that will carry into adulthood. It’s definitely one of those lessons they don’t teach in school, so it has to start at home!
Taking the time to teach your children these simple life skills can have a positive impact on their future. It’s never too early or late to start! Using age appropriate discretion, you can start teaching your child to grow their self-reliance with things like getting themselves dressed, helping clean up the house, and time management. You’ll help grow their confidence while feeling confident in them yourself as they get older and start their journey into the real world!
My name is John Haber. I’m a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and the founder of Nogginsland. I became a COTA in 2003, and then went back to school much later, receiving my Master’s Degree in OT from Mercy College in New York in 2016.
Over the years, I’ve worked with a variety of populations in different settings, from school districts, to developmental disability centers, to children’s hospitals.