Fostering Independence in Your Preschool Age Child

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As your child reaches their preschool years their independence with various skills should continually increase. Fostering this independence teaches them lifelong skills that will be beneficial to them during their first preschool experiences and beyond. Preschool age children are surprising us everyday with the new things they are able to do. By encouraging your child’s independence at home, you will assist and reinforce what we are teaching at school. The following are skills your child practices throughout their preschool day that can be carried over at home.

Taking care of personal belongings:

  • Taking off and hanging up coat
  • Unzipping and zipping backpack

Putting items where they belong (placing item in the sharing day box, signing in with their nametag, etc.)

  • Carrying their own backpack to and from school

Cleaning up after themselves:

  • Cleaning up toys after playing with them
  • Throwing their own trash in the trashcan
  • Wiping their mouths after eating
  • Cleaning up their plates, bowls, etc. from snack/lunch

Self Help Skills:

  • Washing and drying hands thoroughly
    Students wash their hands many times throughout the day and it is important they are actually getting all of the germs off before they touch food or toys. We encourage students to scrub the front, back, and in between their fingers when washing.
  • Using the bathroom
    Even though some children may be new to toileting, we encourage them to wipe themselves and then we can check to make sure they’re clean. Children are also pulling up their own pants/underwear/skirts after using the bathroom. Practicing doing this independently at home will also reinforce their independence with this skill.

Clothing:

  • Being able to dress themselves (with kid friendly fasteners)
  • Children should be wearing clothing that promotes independence
    Elastic waistbands, easy fasteners, practicing zippers, buttons
    (Even though some fasteners may be difficult for children at this age, they can still be giving it a try or helping when possible)
    Velcro shoes and pull on shoes/boots are helpful with promoting independence in this area as well.

Something to remember when fostering independence in your child is to keep things simple. As your child continues to become more independent and can do more things on their own, it is also in part from having your help. Making sure items are accessible to them, kid friendly clothing, coat hooks are low enough, etc, are just a few ways you can help them to achieve more independence. Most children really love to help out at home at this age too (putting dishes in the sink, putting laundry in the basket, helping to set the table, helping to prepare meals, etc), and when they are able to do so it also helps to build their sense of self and develop pride in their abilities.

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