A lot of learning happens in the first few years of a child’s life. From rolling over, walking and running to counting and writing their name, your child is learning a lot! Along with academic skills, it’s also important young children learn important self-care behaviors like brushing their teeth and washing their hands.
Establish a routine. Young children are not only working on self-help skills, but part of the process is simply working on memory skills. Making these acts a routine will help kids remember to complete these tasks each day.
Explain the “why.” It’s easier for us to follow rules or do things we don’t necessarily want to do when we understand why it’s important. Explain to children why these self-care practices are necessary. Talk about how we wash our hands to avoid spreading germs, which can make us sick, or how brushing our teeth regularly helps us avoid painful cavities and keeps our teeth clean and healthy.
Be there. Young children need guidance and support from the important adults in their lives. By simply being present and engaged with them throughout the day, you can help them learn and remember these self-care routines. Young children will need lots of reminders, and it may be a while before they can complete the tasks independently, but your presence is important.
Model it. You can do this in two different ways: by letting them observe you naturally doing these things (i.e., washing your hands or brushing your teeth while they are in the same room) and by providing some purposeful instruction. Children are little copycats; your actions can give them something good to imitate.
Encourage their efforts. Children need encouragement, so notice when they try and when they are successful. Learn more about how to encourage children’s behavior.
You can help your young child learn important daily routines they will use for a lifetime!
Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.
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