Teaching Children to Take Care of Themselves

By Medically reviewed by Dr. Duyen Le

As an adult, one of the biggest responsibility in our life is to make sure that our children are raised in a loving environment where they can grow up to be capable, confident, well-rounded and sufficient adults. Thus, the key to a successful future of a child is to teach them to have a good foundation of self-care.

Why do we have to teach children to take care of themselves?

Parents and especially grandparents are very protective of their children and grandchildren, so much as to not let them do any chore in the house. Therefore, many children grow up not knowing the basics of house-keeping such as washing the dishes and sweeping the house. Unfortunately, we are taking away their chance to learn a new skill that helps them take care of themselves. The best way to love your children is to teach them to care for themselves, teach them skills that allow them to function in a society and able to make good decisions when they grow up.

Thus, when you are taking care of a child, you should teach them the very basics activities to care for their house’s and their own hygiene. Let them make the decision, even a small insignificant one to adults means a lot to a child.

When to start?

The responsibility to help children become independent starts from the time they are born. Unfortunately, most training programs to teach children independence usually start at the age 13 to 16, so it is a misconception for the right time to start teaching independent living to children.

However, many experienced parents say that waiting until the children reach teenage years to teach life skills will miss many “golden opportunities” as the kids are mentally ready to learn long before teenage years.

When children are ready, you can teach them by being their role model, assisting them to learn new skills at first and eventually let them do it themselves. While your child is learning new skills, give them some helpful tips to help them along the way.

Life skills: a developmental approach

Mentally, children at all ages can learn life skills. The challenge is to determine if the new skills are suitable for the child’ level and if the child is motivated to learn.

For instance, where there is a pile of laundry to do, you can ask the child to take care of it. If you do it yourself, it will be much faster, but in the long run, asking your child to help out with housework can go a long way in building their ability to be independent.

  • You can create games for children by letting them separate colored clothes and white clothes, or between towels and sheets.
  • When the clothes have been separated, instruct them to bring the items to the washing machine, then show them how to put in the detergent, how to check the water temperature and so on. If the house has an older child who already know the steps, then they can help teach the younger ones.

Skills to focus on

Life skills that you should teach your children include tangible and intangible skills.

Tangible skills include activities that are easily performed and measured such as cooking, laundry, and money management.

Intangible skills include those that influence a child’s character and can build over time, such as decision-making, time management, and social skills.

Both types of skills are needed for a child to be successful in the adult world. That’s why it is so important to start training your kid at an early age and allow them to practice by themselves.

Teach your child to:

  • Get dressed
  • Wash their hands
  • Wash their faces
  • Brush their teeth
  • Blow and wipe their nose
  • Brush their hair

Teach your kids how to deal with strangers and how to protect themselves. Here are what you can teach your child:

  • Be alert all the time
  • Do not accept any gifts or sweets from strangers
  • Do not talk to strangers
  • Be alert in familiar as well as unfamiliar places

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

msBahasa Malaysia

Sources
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