News Karnataka
Monday, December 11 2023
Know Your Child

Self-help skills in children: A path to gain independence

Self-help skills in children: A path to gain independency
Photo Credit : Pixabay

We do our best as parents to help our children grow up to be happy and healthy. As they learn to navigate through the world, it’s our privilege to help guide them on their journey. Children have a natural desire to be independent, and we should encourage them to develop self-help skills early on in their lives.

Teaching them simple self-help skills will empower children to be more independent and hopefully inspire them to try new things. As a bonus, they get to stay active. Self-help activities for children encourage them to move and play every day.


The best way to build independent feeding skills is to learn the normal developmental stages of self-feeding. Encourage children to practice feeding themselves from infancy on. Begin by offering older infants finger foods. Introduce a spoon and fork and give children plenty of time to practice.

Let children be as independent as possible during mealtimes. Give them the tools they need to be successful.

Independent dressing and grooming

Encourage children to dress and groom by themselves, just provide minimal assistance. Begin with older infants and toddlers by encouraging them to help pull socks on and off, pull up pants after diapering and help put their arms through sleeves. As children get older, encourage them to dress themselves but help with challenging steps such as zipping and buttoning.

Hygiene and toileting

Encourage children to learn to use the toilet to climb on and off the toilet seat, pull clothing up and down, and wash their hands independently. Also, teach children how to brush their teeth after lunch and snacks.

Helping with daily chores like table setting and picking up toys

Encourage children to help with clean-up early on. Give toddlers responsibility for placing napkins or utensils on the table. Encourage children to begin clearing their own plates when they are old enough to carry them without dropping them.

When children are involved in regular chores starting before the age of 4, they tend to be more independent in early adulthood than children without the experience of helping out.

Self-help skills are easy to achieve when there is consistency and patience to achieve the goals.

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Ramya E.

The author is a counselor and lifeskills trainer who has trained over 2000 students. She holds an M.Sc. in Psychology.

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