I was filling out my son's enrollment form for preschool last week *sobbing* and as I was answering all kinds of questions and filling in all types of information, I was struck by how many skills my little guy should have down by the time he starts school.
Can he get dressed on his own? How about counting or the ABC's? And why is everyone so concerned with whether or not he is potty trained? Gosh, just give me some time, okay?! I'll get it done. I promise.
It got me thinking about skills that I sometimes overlook or don't focus on for my son, because it's easier (and quicker) to get them done by myself. But now that he's getting older, there are things I want to make sure we start working on so I won't have to be putting on a 12-year-old's socks for him.
So here are a few skills that I have started working on with my little guy just by making a couple of simple changes and doing my best to have patience!
BathingHanding over the sponge or the washcloth and letting them scrub-a-dub is a pretty easy way to make sure they learn how to bathe on their own. It's pretty fun to see your tot wash up for the first time on their own and realize that they have done this enough times to know what they're doing! Who knew? They're not going to get into all the nooks and crannies the same way you do, but let them do it on their own while you coach them through the tough spots. Let them pump out the soap on their own too! Using a natural, double-duty soap, like Tubby Todd Extra Tubby Hair and Body Wash, will ensure they get clean from head to toe! And if they want to use a loofa to wash their hair, then se la vi!
At our house, we've had a "Brush Your Teeth" song that we've sung for a long time that gets our little guy into the bathroom and shaking his bum while he holds his toothbrush in his mouth. Adorable, but not really effective. Until recently, we were less concerned with how well he was brushing, because we knew we were going to get in there and get the job done. We've done a lot of modeling for our little guy to show him how we brush side-to-side and up and down, and in the back, and how we say cheese, etc. Hand over the toothpaste and let them learn the right amount to squeeze onto the brush, and give yourself extra time before bedtime to let them get it done on their own! Fingers crossed he still shakes his little bum while brushing his teeth even when I'm not supervising *still sobbing*.
DishesOkay, I'm guilty of not being the most prompt when it comes to clearing and cleaning off dishes. They're a pain, and when you have kids it seems like you're going through a ridiculous amount during a single day. Ugh. Well the time has come to let our little guy clear his own plate and put it in the dishwasher on his own. Something simple, I know, but it's an important skill that they won't know is important and could get overlooked. Plus, I don't want to do it anymore, so there's no better time to learn. Start by getting your hands on some Puj PhillUp Kids Cup and Grippy Hooks that hold kids cups right on the fridge where they can grab/fill them when they're thirsty, and hang them up when they're all done. Also show them how to dump off the extra food from their dishes into the trash can before bringing it to the sink/dishwasher. Model how to clean up after yourself and make sure that the table is clean once you're done eating so there aren't crumbs or spills leftover. Coming from a mama who formerly cleaned up after preschoolers all day, your kid's teachers will love you if they learn this skill before they start school!
This one is big in our house, because up until now I have been the dictator of dressing my kids. I choose what they wear, I get them undressed and then get them dressed, and I put their dirty clothes in the laundry hamper, and at some point during the week I wash the clothes.
And at some point, they'll get folded and put away, but don't push it. Long story short, I need to make sure my little guy knows he can pick out his own clothes in the morning, undress/dress, and take care of his dirty clothes on his own. I realize this will pretty much be a learning process that will hopefully be perfected by the time he heads to college. When our son wakes up in the morning I open up his drawers and show him his options, and let him choose what he's wearing. Then I sit on the floor and encourage him to change from jammies to day clothes, and we walk to the laundry basket and I show him where his jammies go. At the end of the night we repeat the process in reverse. Some days are better than others, and he still needs help getting his arms out of long sleeves every once in a while, but we're working on it, and that's what matters!