Self-Help Ideas for Preschoolers

By Adelaide Damoah
Basic self-help skills are important for a child to learn before kindergarten.
Basic self-help skills are important for a child to learn before kindergarten.

Basic self-help skills are expected of preschoolers so they can thrive when they go to kindergarten, according to PreschoolRock.com. All children are essentially in training for the real world, so it is vital that they learn basic skills of looking after themselves. Before attending kindergarten, your preschooler should have learned the basics of feeding and dressing himself and have adequate social skills to enable him to make friends with other children and get along with teachers. You can help your preschooler learn self-help skills by doing activities with him that will encourage the development of these skills.

Preschool Plays

Preschool plays are a fun way to encourage social skills, confidence and imagination if you are working with a group of kids. Develop a rough storyline, have props and dress-up items and give each child a character to play. Encourage the kids to improvise the play with a little direction to get them on the right track. Encourage self esteem by having each child go in front of the group one-by-one and act out what he is good at. For example, if a child is good at playing football, encourage him to act out playing football. The finale of the play can involve each child describing what he likes about himself to the rest of the group followed up by applause from the audience.

Self-Esteem Exercises

To encourage self esteem and help to reduce separation anxiety once your preschooler goes to kindergarten, encourage family-oriented projects. The "My family" project is a simple one that encourages self-identity. Tell your child to look in the mirror and describe what he sees. After, that ask him to draw or paint a self portrait and encourage the use of the right colors for hair, eyes and clothes. Ask him to then draw the rest of the family into the picture with crayons and markers on a poster-sized piece of paper. Ask him to include any pets and then ask him to present his drawing to the family (or preschool class). This exercise can be repeated at different times to assess progress.

Feeding and Dressing

Children learn through family-bonding activities because it gives them an opportunity to watch what the adults do and then copy them. Food time should be a family affair, and you can encourage social skills and self confidence by allowing them to participate in basic food preparation and cleaning tasks. Improve your preschooler's feeding skills by sitting at the table together and allowing him to serve himself and eat by himself. Stand behind your preschooler and only provide minimal help when he is getting dressed. This will allow him to develop confidence from his own perspective in getting dressed alone.

Independence

Children naturally try to be independent. If you have any experience with preschoolers, you will know that they often like to tell you in no uncertain terms that they can do things by themselves. This is a perfectly natural part of child development and should be encouraged in an age-appropriate manner. Understanding the various ages at which children develop these skills is an important part of helping them progress, according to Penn State University's Better Kid Care Program. It is important that you give children enough time to work on certain tasks such as buttoning their shirts by themselves, eating or washing. Children learn by watching adults, so it helps your child if you're actively involved in these activities.

Considerations

The growth of confidence in a child is due to praise of specific achievements rather than being praised for praise's sake, notes Kids Health. If your child picks up his own toys or buttons his shirt correctly, Penn State University's Better Kid Care Program says those achievements should be praised and the effort the preschooler made should also be praised. Allowing children to learn from their own mistakes (safely) is important to the development of confidence, according to pediatricians on HealthyChildren.org. For example, if your child is trying to solve a puzzle, the pediatricians advise that you stand back and allow him to make his own mistakes and work it out for himself rather than interjecting.

About the Author

Adelaide Damoah has been writing since 1995. Her work appears on eHow and she has experience with academic writing, web content, newsletters and news releases. Her expertise includes health and art. Damoah holds a Bachelor of Science in applied biology from Kingston University.