It’s often said that children develop at their own speed, and this is true. What’s more, respecting that individuality is crucial to helping your child grow up feeling nurtured, supported and well-adjusted. But how best can we help our little ones become more independent at home, so that they feel happier and more confident when they go off to nursery or school?
To help make sure your child doesn’t end up in the playground like Quentin Blake’s literary character Mister Magnolia, with only one shoe, here are some handy tips on making children self-sufficient when it comes to everyday tasks:
By the age of five, your child may be able to undertake basic personal tasks such as brushing teeth and getting dressed for school. These tasks require the careful development of certain motor-skills, as well as the cognitive maturity to be able to make choices about the colours of the clothes they put together. Even if Dads sometimes fall foul of the matching socks rule, it’s a good idea to encourage children to get into this habit!
To help get your youngster started, small things like choosing an outfit the night before, avoiding clothes with fiddly zips, poppers and buttons, and giving plenty of guidance around how to put clothes on the right way around by using the label as a marker will help boost your child’s confidence, especially when it comes to getting changed for school P.E. lessons.
Tooth brushing may be something young children can mimic, but it can be tricky for them to get right. Supervising your child while they learn is a good idea up until the age of seven, as it’s easy to miss little crevices in the teeth. An electric toothbrush is a good way to guarantee good dental care, and can be used by children over three. If you’re not sure which electric toothbrush to buy for milk teeth, ask your dentist next time you have an appointment or have a look for advice from a reputable online source.
Baking and Cooking
As your child gets older, they begin to learn responsibility towards others as well as towards themselves. Cooking with the family is especially important, as developing basic cookery skills from a young age will not only help them understand good nutrition, it will also set them up for looking after themselves when they leave home.
Children of all ages can enjoy cooking, and simple baking can be a fun activity for pre-school children. Pinterest is an excellent source of inspiration if you’re cooking with little ones, and you can also see if your child is a Jamie or Nigella in the making with access to lots of easy recipes for kids online, from peanut butter and jam “sushi” to home-made chicken nuggets. One of My Little 3 and Me’s favourite bake for kiddies is a simple Doughnut Muffins recipe.
Of course, there are no hard and fast rules about the right time for your children to start looking after themselves. But, if your teenager can turn up for Fresher’s Week knowing how to make a good Spaghetti Bolognese and avoid turning their laundry pink, they’re sure to thank you later!
In collaboration with Supersavvyme