As your child gets older he will learn and want to do more things for himself, from popping toast into the toaster to taking out the breaking out the vacuum cleaner to tidy up his bedroom. While watching your child grow increasingly independent can be bittersweet, learning to take care of himself is an important part of your child’s personal and social development.
Skills he will work on
Taking a bath or shower:
At this age a lot of children are comfortable taking a bath or shower on their own, though you won’t want to be too far away.
Six-year olds can fix themselves cold cereal and pour juice or milk. Eight-year-olds are probably ready to use the toaster oven for heating muffins, bagels, and other breakfast items.
Packing his backpack:
By the time your child is about 8, he should be able to pack his schoolbag with all the necessities for the day, such as books, food, musical instruments, and sports gear. Until then, you will want to help him gather the right stuff.
Making his lunch:
With limited choices and some guidance from you, your school-age child is capable of packing his own lunch. Take a sneak peek to make sure that what he is bringing to school is, mostly, nutritious.
Helping out around the house:
Children this age can pick up their toys, make their beds, and clean their rooms; they can even get the vacuum cleaner out! They could also lend a hand with tasks in the kitchen and garden.
What you can do
As always, encouragement is essential. Whenever your child tries her hand at a new skill, tell her you’re proud she made the effort (regardless of the result) and urge her to try again. Don’t always jump in to help as soon as she gets stuck as it’s vital that she has enough time to master tasks on her own, at her own pace.Try not to pressure her before she’s ready, either. Be flexible, if making her own sandwiches means peanut butter sandwiches every day for a week, then so be it. More important things, like independence and self-sufficiency are at stake. If he misses some of the carpet as he uses the vacuum cleaner, just let it go! Remember, practice makes perfect.