How to teach a preschooler to be independent: practical tips

Children who learn to solve problems on their own easily adapt in a team and maximize their own freedom, gradually gaining the confidence necessary for harmonious development. Experienced parents advise teaching independence as early as possible so that there are no problems with skills at a later age.

What should preschoolers do on their own?

The main manifestations of independence between the ages of three and seven include dressing, tying shoelaces, eating, reading and writing, helping adults clean the house, and the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. Before moving on to tips on developing each skill, let’s look at what a child should be able to do at each stage until the end of preschool.

At 3 years old, the child can use the toilet, dress and undress independently, but needs the help of an adult in the presence of buttons, zippers and laces. The kid plays alone for half an hour, uses cutlery, removes toys.

At this stage, it is important not to hinder independence, but to support all cases of its manifestation. One broken plate is not a reason for a ban on helping parents.

At 4, brushes teeth, drinks from a mug without spilling water, completes a task from start to finish under adult supervision, uses native language to express needs and feelings.

At 5 – 6 years old, he is able to organize a place to play, performs activities without waiting for instructions, takes a shower or bath under the supervision of an adult, makes sandwiches using butter and other healthy products. Shows interest in the activities of adults and seeks to repeat it.

At every age, not only the fact of learning is important. Encouragement and a friendly attitude to temporary difficulties allow the child to acquire a skill with a positive attitude that accelerates development.

We teach the child to be independent at the table

Children learn by imitating their parents, so eating together at the table is an important learning moment. In addition to using a spoon and a napkin, the child quietly masters all kinds of manners: do not talk with a full mouth, do not eat until the whole family has gathered, eat carefully and take your time.

However, one cannot expect impeccable cleanliness around the plate from a three-year-old child, it is necessary to take into account the age and allow the left crumbs to be removed, the floor and table to be wiped in case of spilled tea.

Convenience, another important point for successful learning, the baby will be less distracted when it is comfortable for him to sit and the cutlery is not too big. Dishes for children from three years old should not be plastic or with suction cups, otherwise, the child will get used to the required rules for a long time.

The time spent at the common table should not exceed 15 minutes for a three-year-old and 30 minutes for a five-year-old child; physiological developmental features are also taken into account, for example, it is sometimes difficult for an active child to sit still for more than 15 minutes at the age of four.

From the age of three, children actively take part in cooking, a child can pour flour into a glass, serve sugar or salt to his mother, set the table with his mother when his father returns from work.

Teaching children to dress themselves

Dressing is often accompanied by frustration and tantrums, a basic skill that is not easy for little hands, especially with problems with fine motor skills. How to make this task easier?

First of all, clothes should not be tight and without complicated fasteners. To speed up the process of getting used to self-dressing will help a small poster at the front door with bright pictures, which shows the order of dressing / undressing.

Do not give up clothes with laces and buttons, dressing will take a little longer only at the beginning of training, consider replacing the buttons with larger ones or replacing them with Velcro if problems are observed. Encourage self-selection of clothes to increase the desire to dress without help from an adult.

Dressing up and undressing dolls will be a useful game that shows the procedure and introduces different clothing options for a certain time of the year. When you’re having trouble dressing up your t-shirts or dresses, practice on larger sizes so you can avoid frustration and endless requests for help.

Learn to tie your own shoelaces

Not surprisingly, many children have difficulty learning to tie their shoelaces, some experts believe that if a child does not learn this skill by the beginning of school, he will be afraid of failure in other areas. All the child needs is the right motivation, do not force them to tie their shoelaces if the baby is not ready yet.

To get acquainted with them, buy two pairs of brightly colored shoelaces and devote five minutes a day to practicing tying. Usually, one week is enough for a five-year-old child to learn how to tie his shoelaces and do it at any time, even when an adult is not around.

Some children learn faster when they are asked to repeat the first or last action, for example, today he only ties a knot, he simply watches the other actions of an adult, and tomorrow he learns to tie only a bow.

Teaching children to make their own choices

It is worth noting that this skill can be stressful for some children, and a gradual approach that does not affect mood is needed. First, spend the night with questions in the store, what color of the sweater do you like best, what mug would you like for your tea party. At home, let you choose pajamas for sleeping, it’s not bad to develop the skill of independent choice playing with puppets and drawing up a joint script for a puppet theater.

Reading books and passing discussion with anticipation of the actions of the main characters, have the strongest influence, the child quickly realizes the importance of choosing in various situations in life, what will happen if you do good or bad.

How to teach a preschooler independence with motor skills problems

Children with motor development problems will need more time, which means that the acquisition of several skills at once can lead to refusal to perform any activity. Start simple, wearing comfortable shorts and a sweater is easier than wearing skinny jeans or a button-down sweater.

Pay attention to the child’s interest, if he is more attracted to putting on shoes, let him practice this skill first. For practice, choose hours when the child has had enough sleep, does not ask for food and is in a good mood.

When encouraging independence, do not forget about personal example. Show how you solve difficult situations, but also explain that you can always ask for help if something does not work out.