ACTIVITIES THAT FOCUS ON SELF HELP AND LIFE SKILLS
In one research study, 73 Kindergarten Teachers were asked "What skills do you wish every incoming kindergartener would have mastered when they came to your classroom on the first day of school?". Only 9 teachers answers were academic related. All others were self-help and life skills. We have put together a list of ideas to help your child build the skills they need to get ready to learn in a school setting!
- Practice dressing independently. Dress your child in clothes s(he) can manipulate independently.
- Practice zipping, snapping, and buttoning clothing. Use old clothes, and make a game out of it. Have races to see if your child can “beat” you!
- Practice tying shoes, even if it’s only for the first step by crossing the laces!
- Give your child the responsibility of taking care of his/her personal belongings (Putting away toys, hanging up clothes and backpack, clearing table after mealtimes)
- Teach them how to open every item in their lunchbox independently. When opening a bag of snacks, give your child the verbal cue “pinch and pull” to help remind them of the way they need to grasp the bag to open it successfully.
- When cleaning up after a meal, make sure your child can determine what to throw away vs. what to keep (disposable vs. reusable).
- When using the restroom, teach them how to flush the toilet, wipe themselves, shut and lock a bathroom stall door and undo clothing on their own.
- Have your child practice blowing your nose independently.
- Teach them their first and last name, Parents’ first and last name and Caretaker’s phone number.
- Teach social skills that are helpful in a classroom setting, like how to:
- Follow directions
- Ask for help
- Identify their feelings/emotions
- Respond when their name is called.
- Wait their turn.
- Gracefully lose.
- Do non-preferred tasks (we have to let our kids be bored sometimes).
- Be kind to one another
- Getting ready for the first day of school can fill children (and grown-ups!) with both excitement and nervousness. And this year, it might be the first time in awhile (or ever!) that your child has stepped foot in a classroom. Read on for tips and activities to prepare before that first day HERE.
- Social Stories can help ALL children understand what is going on around them. Information about new routines will help reduce anxiety and fear. This will lead to a smoother transition into a new routine. The website Autism Little Learners: Resources and Ideas for Families and Educators has some great Social Stories to help prepare your children. Please click here for the link.
- Another social story resource is from the Mass AIMH, DMH, MSPCC, and the Partnership for Early Childhood Mental Health. This template can be downloaded and edited for use by providers and families to help children prepare for the changes so they can feel more in control as they reenter school. Click here to Download our Social Story Template
Early Childhood Partners programs are funded by the Coordinated Family & Community Engagement (CFCE) grant awarded to Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care. The HWRSD does not discriminate in its programs, activities or employment practices on the basis of race*, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, active military/veteran status, marital status, familial status, pregnancy, or pregnancy-related condition, homelessness, ancestry, ethnic background, national origin, or any other category protected by state or federal law.