As parents, we want to prepare our children not just for school, but for life. And this includes being independent, with self help skills.
Children are born with a strong urge to be self-reliant. Do you recall your baby pulling at anything around him to stand up, while you sweat a bucket? Or when your toddler struggled to feed himself but ended up with more food on the floor than into his mouth? When children are given a chance to be independent at a young age, they are more likely to be responsible for themselves later in life. When they receive positive signals from the adults around them to try different tasks, it encourages them to take initiative. With every try, children improve in their level of mastery, which in turn boosts their self-confidence.
For young children, the most immediate and relevant skills to acquire are self-help skills. In school, children are given the opportunity to feed themselves, cut up vegetables during messy play, put their bags into the cubby hole, dress themselves after their shower, pack up their toys after playtime, serve lunch to their friends and return empty bowls to the bin after lunch. With every self-help skill your child acquires, it brings him closer to a group environment and builds their confidence. Through this, your child is building essential life skills.
So, the next time your child tries to do something for himself, or offers to help around the help, let him have a go, but be there to support him.
Serina Teo, Curriculum Specialist