Regardless of when you’ll begin formal homeschool lessons with your preschooler, your child can begin learning life skills. Each day will present opportunities to foster independence in your child, include your child in your own tasks, and encourage them in skills that are age-appropriate for preschoolers.
Fostering Independence in Your Preschooler
The first key to building your preschooler’s arsenal of real-life skills is to foster their independence.
Many preschoolers naturally desire to do things for themselves. Even my 2-year-old will protest if I take off her coat before she can try.
On the flip side, kids can also go through phases where they avoid being independent. This may be because they want the attention of someone doing something for them.
No matter how your child naturally leans, though, you will do your child a service if you give them the space and encouragement to work on a new skill for themself—even when it would be faster and easier for you to do the task for them.
Including Your Preschooler in Your Work
Another way to teach life skills to your preschool child is to simply include them in your everyday tasks whenever possible.
Whether you’re cooking or planning a meal, fixing something around the house, setting the table, dusting, or working in the garden, you’ll probably be able to include your child in some way and show them the steps you’re taking as you go.
Your own work will take longer (and likely be messier) with your preschooler by your side, but you’ll be investing in your child’s knowledge and skills in a natural way.
You’ll be surprised how much your child learns and how much satisfaction and joy they’ll gain from feeling useful and necessary to the workings of the household.
Life Skills That Are Appropriate for Preschoolers
Here are some specific life skills you can intentionally work on with your preschooler as you feel they are ready:
Personal Life Skills for Preschoolers
- Being on a healthy and predictable schedule each day
- Learning to focus and stay on task
- Washing hands after using the restroom and before meals
- Combing hair
- Brushing teeth (with an adult finishing the job)
- Learning how to do buttons and zippers
- Beginning to learn how to tie shoes
- Practicing self-control regarding their emotions, eating treats, etc.
- Grabbing what they need (if they can reach it) instead of expecting someone to get it for them
Household Life Skills for Preschoolers
- Making their bed in the morning
- Helping empty the dishwasher including sorting the silverware into the proper compartments in the drawer
- Setting the table for a meal
- Clearing their place after a meal
- Preparing simple foods for themself like a sandwich, a bowl of cereal, or a snack
- Helping with the laundry including sorting laundry, folding washcloths and hand towels, matching socks, and placing clean laundry in their drawers or on their hangers
- Helping with pet chores
- Tidying their toys/books/art supplies when they are finished with them
- Vacuuming crumbs with a hand-held vacuum or sweeping with a small broom
- Helping dust with a feather duster or cloth
- Helping scrub the kitchen table or floor (as a bonus, scrubbing strengthens little fingers for learning an instrument later)
- Watering plants
Safety Skills for Preschoolers
- Memorizing home address and parents’ full names and phone numbers
- Beginning to learn how to respond to strangers in various situations
- Learning what to do in a real emergency/dialing 911/fire safety
- Beginning to learn body safety as appropriate for their age
Social Skills for Preschoolers
- Learning manners including phone manners
- Expressing their verbal thanks after receiving a gift or being a guest at someone’s house or event (maybe even coloring thank you cards to send)
- Practicing greeting people instead of shying away
- Learning how to serve others and be generous
- Being aware of those around them and how they might be making others feel with their actions and words
- Having quiet times where parents aren’t entertaining them (for an appropriate amount of time) for thinking, being creative, and entertaining themselves
- Making simple decisions for themself when practical
- Making connections with children outside of their family
- Answering for themself when asked a question
- Being able to sit quietly in a church service or at an event
- Practicing sharing
- Working on conflict-solving with siblings and other children
- Continuing to obey parents
You can visit this post for more life skills for kids of all ages.
By fostering your preschooler’s independence, including them in your day-to-day tasks, and intentionally teaching skills appropriate for their development, you’ll be surprised how many life skills your preschooler will learn.
You’ll be building their confidence now and laying the groundwork for a capable homeschool student and adult later.