Coaching Your Child Into Strong Self-Care

posted 10/11/20 -- Self-care skills are the everyday tasks undertaken so children are prepared to participate in life activities (i.e. dressing, brushing teeth, using utensils for eating, simple chores, toileting, washing hands, choosing their own outfit, etc.).

Giving children a chance to practice self-care skills is a very important part of their growth and development. Investing time and effort into encouraging self-care will help your child feel capable, responsible, and independent.

Compare self-care to playing sports. Children don’t master soccer drills or hitting a baseball on their first attempt. With a coach modeling and teaching those skills and providing opportunities to practice, the child will strengthen his skills over time. This same concept holds true to self-care skills. Preschoolers are capable of doing these skills, but need you as a parent to coach, model and provide opportunity to practice.

Helpful tips to encourage self-care skills:


  • Utilize a visual schedule of the steps involved.
  • Break tasks down into small steps, so they can be achievable.
  • If your child is struggling with a self-care skill, don’t jump in right away and do the task for them. Allow time to see if they can figure it out. If not, provide some coaching, support and guidance.
  • Set up a routine and follow it every day.
  • Allow enough time for your child to participate in the self-care activities without feeling rushed.


Whenever your child tries something new, it’s important to focus on the journey (the method) and not the destination (the end result). Spills are inevitable; they are going to happen when children are practicing new skills.

Remember, early experiences last a lifetime. Encouraging self-care skills in preschool children and fostering their growth and development is a recipe for future success.