A Parent’s Biggest Job: Top Tips for Teaching Kids to Take Care of Themselves

Teaching your kids how to take care of themselves is one of the most important things you can do for them. It enables them to be self-sufficient and responsible enough to succeed in the real world. It would be unwise to cut them loose one day without some preparation, so the best approach is to prepare them gradually, while they’re still young.

Here are some tips for teaching your kids to take care of themselves:

Teach Them Good Hygiene

Kids are more prone to certain illnesses than adults. This has a lot to do with the fact that they spend lots of time around other kids who may have terrible hygiene habits. Teach them the importance of washing their hands and remind them that when they catch a cold, they probably caught it from some kid who wiped the germs off his nose and rubbed them on something everyone handles. Make sure they understand the importance of bathing daily and teach them how to clean themselves properly. Get them an Oral B electric toothbrush and emphasize the importance of brushing their teeth at least twice a day.

Let Them Help You

Sometimes the best way to get something done is to do it yourself. That might be quicker and easier, but you could be missing out on an opportunity to teach your kids something valuable. One suggestion might be to get them to help you make sandwiches for everyone’s lunch. It’s a simple task and as long as they wash their hands, there’s not much that can go wrong. It might take them several minutes to make their first one, but they will eventually get the hang of it.

Encourage Them to Speak Up

One of the most important lessons they need to learn when they’re young is to speak up. No matter what situations they may face later in life, they must be comfortable expressing their wants and needs. The earlier they learn the importance of eye contact, politeness and tact, the better they will be at communicating effectively with others. Remind them that sometimes the only way to get what you want in life is to ask for it.

Let Them Order Their Own Food

Before you let them order, get them familiar with the menu at your favorite restaurant. If you’re on a budget, tell them to look for something they like that’s under a specific price. Keep them interested and engaged. Once they get used to selecting their entree and sides, resist the urge to order for them when the waiter arrives. Don’t be afraid to put them on the spot. The point is to allow them to practice making decisions and communicating directly with people they don’t necessarily know. Remember that you can also do this at their doctor and dentist appointments. Encourage them to ask questions and to also be ready with answers, themselves.

Teach Constantly

There are lots of moments in everyday life that you can use to teach your kids how to take care of themselves. It’s up to you to not only demonstrate how certain tasks are done, but also to give them a chance to try them out. They will occasionally do something wrong, but they have to learn to keep trying until they get it right. You also need to praise them when they meet or surpass your expectations.

Doing too much for your children feeds a sense of dependency that should not be carried into adulthood. Remember that kids typically learn must faster than adults and you’d be amazed what they can do when you let them. It’s better to teach them how to take care of themselves before the time comes when they don’t have a choice.

Rachel Jennings relishes every moment of her spare time when she’s able to sit down and tap out an article before the kids, or her husband, need her for something. She usually writes about parenting topics, though also enjoys DIY and tech so sometimes you’ll see cropping up too!


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