TODDLER SELF SKILLS
Self care refers to all the things we do to keep our bodies safe and healthy. The main areas of self-care for a toddler or preschooler are sleeping, eating/drinking, toothbrushing, dressing, and bathing/grooming.
Research shows that getting enough sleep is extremely important for your child’s development and brain function.
Getting your child to go to sleep and stay asleep is often one of the most difficult tasks for a parent, and there are many different opinions about the best ways to do this. We do not support one method over another, but recommend that parents find the method that they feel most comfortable with, and that fits their child and family.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with trying to get your child to sleep, you can talk with your doctor, a public health nurse, an occupational therapist, or another health professional in the community.
It is extremely important for children to have their teeth brushed twice per day, using a small dab of fluoride toothpaste. If your child wants to brush his own teeth, he should be encouraged to try. However, children under 6 years of age should have an adult finish the job to make sure his teeth are cleaned well. If you have specific questions about how to brush your child’s teeth, please talk to your dentist or another dental health professional.
Many children find it uncomfortable to have their teeth brushed. Try some of the following strategies to make toothbrushing time more relaxing:
Do it at a consistent time of day so your child knows what to expect
Try singing a fun song or making up a rhyme for toothbrushing time
Encourage your child to try brushing her own teeth when she is ready (as long as you finish the job for her)
If you are overwhelmed trying to get your child to brush her teeth, you may want to talk to a dental health professional, to a public health nurse, or to an occupational therapist.
Other Areas of Self-Care
For information about typical developmental milestones for toddlers and preschoolers, please click on one of the links below. In each area, you will also find information about when to ask for help.