Encourage Self-Help Skills in Children


Children have a willingness to learn.  It is part of growing. At different stages, children are able to complete more tasks of self-help. It is easier for you to do these tasks yourself, but then it doesn’t teach the child how to do them.  By you completing the task, yes it gets done quicker but a lost opportunity to foster independence in your little one. It is important for development to encourage self-help skills in children.


Encourage Self-Help Skills in Children

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Four main types of self-help skills:

  1. Self-feeding
  2. Independent dressing and grooming
  3. *Hygiene and toileting.
  4. Helping with daily chores


Last week we spoke about Age Appropriate Chores for Kids.  This is along those lines as well.  Children need to learn self-help skills. They can easily see the results of their work and grow less dependant on you the parent.  Here is a chart that you can use for daily chores as well as self -help tasks. Get a daily Chore Chart here.


Daily Chore Chart

This is a helpful list to break down self-help skills by age.  Children develop at different stages.  This is a guideline to go by.  Some children progress is physical development before language development and that’s completely ok.  When one area of development is progress other areas usually stay the same.  Every area of development can’t progress at the same time. Introduce these skills and continue to work on them.  Children learn by imitation and repetition.  So when you are brushing your hair every day give them a brush as well.







Babies to Crawlers

  1. Throw clothes in the Laundry Basket
  2. Wipe face with a napkin
  3. Feed themselves finger foods
  4. Start to use a fork (they may not get all the food in their mouths)

Trying to use a fork



12 to 18 months

  1. Continue to work on above tasks
  2. Hold toothbrush in their mouth when imitating an adult (you will have brush the teeth)
  3. Start trying to undress (take socks off, take shoes off and pull down plants)
  4. Imitate brushing hair
  5. Starting to play alone (even with you in the room but they are playing without an adult intervening)

Brushing teeth



18 months to 2 years old

  1. Continue to work on above tasks
  2. Start to pull up pants or shorts (mostly sweatpants or leggings clothes that stretch)
  3. Pull down a zipper
  4. Put shoes away in the correct location
  5. Imitate using a napkin to clean up spills
  6. Take child bowl or plate and put in the sink
  7. Play alone between 15- 30 minutes



3 years old



My Son dressing himself

  1. Continue to master skills above
  2. Dress themselves (It’s ok if shirt or pants are backward)
  3. Get a snack from the pantry (Keep child snacks low for easy reach.)
  4. Should be able to answer “What’s your name?” and “How old are you?”
  5. Start to know what town they live in (Beginning stage of learning their address.)
  6. Play alone between 15 to 45 minutes




4 years old

  1. Continue to master skills above
  2. Put Pajamas on correctly
  3. Pick out clothes for the next day
  4. Brush teeth (You may want to go over to make sure).
  5. Learn how to clean themselves in the shower.
  6. Can put backpack and lunchbox away
  7. Play alone for close to an hour


 5 years old

  1. Continue to master the skills above
  2. Dress independently
  3. Brush teeth independently
  4. Clean themselves in the shower
  5. Know their address
  6. Know parents first names (This information is looked over a lot.  It’s important for a child to know their parent’s first names in case anything happens.  Many children just say, mom and dad.)
  7. Help with cleaning up after meals





Children are potty trained at different ages.  Some will be trained by 2 and others not trained to almost 5.  Either way, when your child is in the potty training stage they should learn to wipe themselves, flush and wash hands.  Being fully potty trained may take a long time for some children.  They need to learn how to clean themselves in the bathroom as they are learning to use the potty. Look for signs of readiness including pulling down diaper, hiding to poop and wanting to sit on the toilet.

Self-help skills in children



Daily Chore Chart


I’d love to hear what your little ones do at home for self-help skills.



You would also enjoy Age Appropriate Chores for Kids and No Sippy Cups



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  1. Deimile March 26, 2018
    • ExploreKidTalk March 26, 2018
  2. Sara March 27, 2018
    • ExploreKidTalk March 27, 2018
  3. Marjie Mare March 27, 2018
  4. shauna stoddard March 27, 2018
  5. Max March 28, 2018
    • ExploreKidTalk March 28, 2018

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