4 Skills Toddler Life Skills & How to Teach Them
Part of growing up includes learning a multitude of skills that you will carry through life. Teaching your child some basic skills early on will make your #momlife easier. These skills can be anything from using the potty to cleaning up after oneself. Before your child has entered preschool, there are some basic skills that you should ensure your child can complete on their own. Let’s take a look at four skills that your toddler needs to master.
Using the Toilet
Everybody is different when it comes to wanting to potty train their child successfully. Some preschools won’t accept children until they are potty trained, so mama, you might want to get on that! Follow your child’s cues to see if they are ready to start using the toilet. Some ways you can tell your child is ready includes:
- Bringing a dirty diaper to your attention
- Hiding when they have to urinate or defecate
- Showing interest in other people using the toilet
- Going longer and longer with a dry diaper
In order to successfully potty train your child, you need to be ready to be patient and consistent. There are a ton of different methods that you can use to potty train. Choose the method that will works best for your child and your current lifestyle. In my case, that was waiting until summer and letting my kids run around outside with no diaper on. They started to recognize the feeling of when they had to “go!”
Washing Their Hands
Teaching a child to wash their hands will promote good hygiene and prevent them from getting sick. Even more importantly, it will prevent YOU from getting sick. It seems like once a kid starts school or daycare, they bring home every germ known to man.
When a toddler is very young, they are interested in doing all of the things their parents and siblings do. You can embrace this interest by letting your child wash their hands when they want to. Also make sure that you encourage hand-washing during very important parts of the day. After going to the potty, after playing outside, or before eating a meal are all great times to reinforce this skill. You can let your child pick out a hand soap that has a special character on the bottle if that piques their interest. Always be sure to praise your child when they are done washing. And praise the lord when you don’t catch the stomach flu!
While a toddler isn’t going to be a big help when it comes to cleaning the kitchen or bathroom (they may actually make it harder), you should teach your child the importance of cleaning up after themselves. You can pick a couple of times throughout the day to have your toddler clean up their toys. I like to make cleaning up a condition to moving onto a new fun activity, as in “No playing outside until we clean up this mess!” Make a game of cleaning up to get your toddler excited about the process. You can sing a song while you clean. Be sure to praise the behavior when your child has finished cleaning up. Even if you have to go behind them and do it all over again…
It is very important that a young child learns how they should be treating other people. This behavior should include siblings, parents, extended family members, and friends. Teach a child that if they hit, scratch, or act out, the mom-machine shuts down. What I mean by this is that if you are doing a puzzle with your little one and she gets frustrated and hits you, you stop doing the puzzle and deal with the behavior. It helps a child to understand natural consequences. It is important to model good behavior so your child follows along. This behavior is also very useful if you have pets in the home that should be treated gently and kindly.
Teaching basic life skills to your toddler is a lifelong process. Be realistic with your goals as a parent. If your child isn’t ready to potty train, follow their cues and wait a few more months. Certain skills really depend on how a child has been growing from a developmental standpoint. Don’t think of it as an end-goal, but as a process. Good luck, mamas!