Developing Self-Care Skills & Independence

With each passing month your little one is learning new things and becoming more self-reliant, showing greater interest in doing things on its own. This is an important time in your child's life, as this developmental stage is one of the major formative phases that will help your preschooler grow into an independent and capable adult. Here are some of the things your child will most probably be attempting to do on its own:


By the age of two, most children will know how to take off their clothes, but your little one might be developing a pleasure for changing clothes every so often during a single day. Since most preschoolers tend to be clumsy and messy, your child's clothes will probably need to be changed more frequently as things are spilt on them or they become stained.

Brushing Teeth

Your child might want to start brushing its teeth on its own, and you should let him or her, but make sure you follow up with a more thorough cleaning yourself. You should also check that your little one does not use more than a pea-sized drop of toothpaste, as it might swallow it instead of spitting it out.  

Using the Toilet

Most children will have mastered potty training by the age of 3 or 4, and will be more enthusiastic about using the "grownup" toilet. Let your child seat itself on its own if it wants to and take care of business, but it might need a bit of help wiping and washing afterwards.

Preparing Breakfast

Allowing your child to try preparing a bowl of cereal on its own is a great way of helping them become more self-sufficient. Break down the process of cereal preparation intro three stages and instruct your child on how to carefully place the cereal and milk into its bowl without spilling, but some mess is inevitable.

What You Can Do

Encourage your preschooler to grow and develop by curbing your instinctive urge to protect. When you see your little one in a bind, wait a moment (if it's not dangerous) and give it verbal prompts so that they can attempt to fix the situation on their own. This doesn't mean that you should throw your preschooler off the deep end, however; children need to know that their parents are close by and available when things get a bit tricky, and if your child appeals to you and you feel that they truly cannot help themselves, intervene.

As part of your encouragement, you should also let your child know how proud you are of them when they learn or acquire new skills, even if the result is not particularly positive. The important thing is that your child tried, and trying is the first step towards doing. You should also try to let go and allow your child to make a bit of a mess in the process of learning new things.