HOW CAN PARENTS HELP THEIR CHILDREN LEARN LIFE SKILLS?
Understand that when we are trying to learn something new there can be a lot of frustration for the child and for you as a parent. Know that it may take your child longer to learn something then it did for you or for your other children. We all learn at different speeds and with different learning styles. Keep in mind that every child is unique and will take love, guidance, and support from you as the parent.
TIPS ON HOW TO STAY CALM:
- First is to BREATHE, this may seem simple, but slow deep breaths can calm the body.
- LET GO. Let go of your frustrations and various failures in the past. This is a new journey today and we need to learn to let go of things that have happened in the past.
- Look at the Big Picture. Envision the end result for your child of the end goal of helping them to be independent with that specific skill.
- Enjoy the journey and the process for the opportunity to help teach and raise your child. Your child looks up to your for support and guidance and these are the little moments in life when you get to be a parent and share these experiences together.
- Try to practice the skill during times when you know you will be less stressed as a parent. If you have big life events going on and you don’t have the time to spend working on the skill with your child, maybe now is not the time to start a new skill
- Do not picture perfection when teaching this skill. As the parent you will make mistakes as well as your child. Enjoy the process and learn from everyone’s mistakes.
HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILD STAY CALM WHEN TEACHING THEM A NEW SKILL:
COMMUNICATE WITH THEM WHAT YOU ARE WANTING
Be specific in what we are going to be working on. Let them know we are going to work on a specific skill together, so they understand what they will be doing.
SET UP A CALM TRANSITION
Help your child transition from whatever they are doing to working on this skill with kind words and positive energy. When we are using positive words with our children they can feel safer and enjoy the activity better.
LEAVE TIME FOR THE TRANSITION
Some people need to know ahead of time that the activity is coming. It can be calming to some people and it can create anxiety for others. It might mean that you say in 10 minutes it will be time to brush your teeth. For someone else it might be a timer that runs out. For some it works best it nothing is said ahead of time and you just go do the activity when it’s time. Transitions can look different for each individual.
BE RESPECTFUL AT THE TRANSITION TIME
Try to imagine if you were in charge of when your spouse needed to take a shower or brush their teeth. Would you say, “Go brush your teeth!” How well do you think they would respond? Think what you would need to say to them that would create them to want to do that activity. If your child is watching TV you might say, “At the next commercial, it will be time to brush your teeth.” When your child is sensitive to transition times then creating a closure to their activity and stating what needs to be done in a respectful way will be helpful to their emotional needs.
SOUND CALM AND HAPPY WHEN IT’S TIME TO GO AND DURING THE ACTIVITY
How you act and sound can state if this activity will be fun or unpleasant. It’s important that you act and sound like what you are about to do together is something good. Learn to enjoy working together. How you respond can make or break the situation. Before you get started put in your mind that this will be fun and just enjoy and love your child. When you put on a smile it helps you and your child to enjoy the activity. You don’t really have control on how fast your child is going to learn something, but you do have control on just enjoying the moment.
SAY POSITIVE THINGS TO YOUR CHILD
When we say encouraging words to our child it promotes confidence and it moves both of us in a better direction. It speaks to acceptance, respectfulness, trust, love, kindness, understanding, and success. You’re giving life to the good and promoting the activity to be seen with love. They get to know that you’re expressing the good in what you see and that you’re not a faultfinder. You are not emphasizing the things that they need to do better, because they don’t like to make mistakes. Mistakes can be the reason they don’t want to do the activity in the first place. Everyone wants to be recognized for what they are doing right. When you are helping them, you become an extension to them. So they are going to want the other part of them to be for them and not against them.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY!
Keep in mind that what you say is not always understood or even heard by your child. If they are thinking and trying to do something, they may not be able to hear you. They may not understand body language or your tone. If you feel a little frustrated and you think your child should pick up on that, they may not have that ability to read that on your body language or the tone of your speech. It’s best to keep frustration away from these skills, because it creates confusion for your child and slows down the process.
Your child wants to express things to you as well, but the ability to communicate effectively can get in the way of progress. If your child wants a wash cloth and they don’t know how to say that and you don’t know what they need, then it’s hard to accomplish the goal. Some people want to use their hands to communicate instead of their voice. Sometimes they can talk, but they want to rely on their hand pounding on something that is supposed to get your attention to know what they want. However the two of you communicate, the important part is that you both understand each other. There are times where your child needs you to give them some wait time to process information. It’s easier to guide a person from one specific part of an activity to another, but sometimes they need us to give them time to start it by themselves. That might mean that you’re standing there waiting for them to get started with the next part. Sometimes they get stuck or you can see their anxiety rising, so those wouldn’t be times when you would wait for them to move onto the next part. Anxiety or frustration isn’t what you want to see during the life skills process. Try to create a flow that’s theirs and realize that it’s going to look different then how you would do it. Allow for their strengths and individuality to come out.
Are you looking for a way to help teach your child or teen with autism personal hygiene skills? Check out our ebook Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Cares in the Bathroom!
Does your child or teen struggle with personal hygiene skills due to sensory challenges? Check out our free Personal Hygiene Sensory Strategies Toolkit for help!
Check out our FREE task analysis charts to help you break down the personal hygiene skills as you teach them to your child.
Are you looking for more help with teaching your teen life skills to help them as they transition into adulthood? Check out our Life Skills Checklist to help you understand what skills to help teach your teen to help their transition into adulthood!