What are self care skills?
Self care skills are the everyday tasks undertaken so children are ready to participate in life activities (including dressing, eating, cleaning teeth). They are often referred to as the activities of daily living (ADL’s). While these are typically supported by adults in young children, it is expected that children develop independence in these as they mature.
Why are self care skills important?
Self care skills are one of the first ways that children develop the ability to plan and sequence task performance, to organize the necessary materials and to develop the refined physical control required to carry out daily tasks (e.g. opening lunch boxes, drawing or standing to pull up pants). Self care skills act as precursors for many school related tasks as well as life skills. The term ‘self care’ would suggest that these skills are expected to be done independently and in many cases it becomes inappropriate for others to assist for such tasks (age dependent of course).
What activities can help improve self care skills?
- Small parts of activities: Practice doing a small part of a task each day as it is easier to learn new skills in smaller sections.
- Observation: Have your child to observe other family members performing everyday self care skills.
- Role play self care tasks such as eating, dressing or brushing teeth with teddy bears. Doing it on others can help learning it before then doing it on yourself.
- Take care of others: Allow the child to brush your hair or teeth first, before brushing their own.
- Timers to indicate how long they must tolerate an activity they may not enjoy, such as teeth cleaning.