Practical skills to teach your almost-three-year-old

Baby is quickly growing into a more and more capable little person, and as they approach their third birthday, you may want to consider offering them a bit more independence, as well as their other birthday presents.

As you go about your regular routine, here are some ways you can encourage Baby to learn and start to use practical life skills.

  • Hygiene: From brushing their hair and teeth to scrubbing down in the tub, hygiene is a big part of Baby’s day. Though they still need your help to make sure they are thoroughly clean, Baby may be ready to start doing some basic hygiene tasks, like brushing their own hair, and to finish up brushing their teeth once you’re sure they’ve been properly cleaned. In the tub, give them a washcloth to clean their own body, before you take over to get down to the real scrubbing.
  • Cooking: Baby isn’t ready to use the kitchen appliances just yet, but while you’re prepping meals, let them start to get involved. Simple ways they can help are by bringing you ingredients you need, sprinkling in a dash of seasoning, or mixing ingredients in a bowl. It may leave you needing to do a bit of extra cleanup, but they will be excited to lend a hand.
  • Dressing: Let Baby pick their own outfits some days so they can get familiar with the items they will need for the day. When it’s cold, remind them to get a sweater, and so on, depending on the weather. This is also a great time to start to resist the urge to dress them completely. They are now becoming more capable of getting into (and out of) their own clothes.
  • Cleaning: It’s certainly faster, and much less of a battle, to clean Baby’s toys up for them at the end of the day. Still, Baby should be starting to understand the concept of cleaning up their own mess, and now is a good time to start asking them to help you with tidying up a room. You may also choose to show them the basics of other household tasks like dusting, sweeping, and sorting laundry.
  • Greetings: When the two of you are outside of the home, you can start to work on Baby’s social skills by encouraging proper greetings and farewells. Since you’re their biggest role model, showing off your own good social behavior by saying hello to familiar faces, and goodbye to a clerk when leaving the store, is also a great way to encourage Baby to behave politely to friends and strangers they see out in the world. Before too long, they won’t even need you to prompt them before they do the same.

Baby is going to learn new things from you every day, whether you teach them to them or not, so picking out the specific skills you want to encourage them to adopt is a great way to get them started in the world with the skills they need.

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