Learning a new skill. We can all do it at any age. Let’s teach our kids!

(*Source: http://mom.girlstalkinsmack.com/family/standard-nutrition-for-toddlers.aspx)

Yes, we all know the old adage, we live and we learn. Remember the second we all came into this world, how did we learn? We learned walking by falling down many times. We learned how to speak from making our own sounds. We learned how to throw a ball by trying many times to pick one up. By teaching your child new skills, we help to build their confidence. Just like adults, we thrive by feel happier and stronger when we tackle a new skill.

All new skills can be learned, at any age, at any time. We started our lives by learning the necessities. But as we grow, we have more choices as to what we would like to learn next. Did you remember when you first wanted to learn how to play the piano, or learn how to tap dance?

From countless interviews with real life moms and dads, we’ve reach out to everyone we know and beyond and gathered the following summary for the best process to teaching your child new skills.

1. Identify the target skill

Be as specific as possible. For example, I want my child to eat using a utensil on her own without my help.

2. Pinpoint how your child is currently doing the skill

Does your child need you to first spoon feed her, and then she will start to feed herself? Or do you need to show her yourself eating out of your spoon as an example of how she can feed herself? Do you gesture spoon feeding her? What are the current steps that you need to take for her to perform the skill?

3. Compare the supports to the target skill

List all the current support steps that you are taking in order for your child to do the target skill. Then try to take away each support as you train her to eat on her own. For example, you start with feeding her yourself. Then, start to use gestures, taking away your help. Step by step, she will do the target skill on her own.

4. Remove and fade that support

This is a step-by- step gradual process, also by trial and error. Try by fading out certain support that you give so that you can train your child to perform the target skill more and more on their own.

Here is a good sample list of target skills you can teach your child.

  • Brushing teeth

  • Washing/drying hands

  • Dressing themselves

  • Brushing hair

  • Tying shoes

  • Putting away toys

Here are some great additional resources for teaching children new skills.

Coming up next week, fun ways to teach specific skills to your child. Hint, how to teach a creative skill!