Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Week 9 Life Skills

Theme: Life Skills
Objective: To introduce or further learn developmentally recommended basic life skills.
Letter of the Week: H
Note: At this stage (2-3 year olds), we will focus simply on capital letters only.  It is also important to understand that this introduction of letters is simply to familiarize our children with letters.  We are not expecting them to be proficient with these letters. 
Special Items Needed:
  • Clothes
  • Toothbrush
Life Skills
Every few months or so, I take time to look up on the developmental milestone charts for my boys.  I print off the ones nearest their ages, and then I highlight all the developmental milestones they have already accomplished.  I then read over the ones we are currently missing for their respective ages, and I look ahead to milestones we should be working towards.  Before you read any further, let me emphasize how important it is to understand that all children have their own strengths.  When looking at these milestone charts, look at them with your own child in mind.  Do not pressure your child to have everything accomplished on the chart.  Rather, look at where your child is strong and be excited about those accomplishments.  Then look at just a couple of growth areas for your child and guide your child towards those.   I emphasize the word “guide” because that is exactly what it needs to feel like for your child as you introduce and help her learn those growth areas.  Give opportunities and help your child grow into those milestones.  Do not make those milestones “pass/fail” experiences but  supported learning and growing experiences.  Click here and click here to see the two milestone charts around which I developed this week’s theme.
Choosing Clothes
For a while now, my son has been interested in choosing his own clothes (often the same blue shirt with just about any pair of shorts).  I have encouraged his choosing his own clothes; however, I have guided him towards clothing appropriate for the weather outside.  For instance, today was much colder than it has been here lately, so I told him he could pick any long sleeved shirt and any pair of pants.  I do hang up all of his pants and shirts, mostly because I like to see the choices; however, now, it allows him also to see his choices. 
Getting Dressed
We are just beginning to work on getting dressed.  How I wish we had done more of this during the summer with shorts and t-shirts, as I am finding that pants and long-sleeved shirts are a bit more complicated.  For now, though, I am helping my son put his clothes on and am hoping to work towards him being able to independently put on his clothes. 
Brushing Teeth
At this stage, when your child brushes his teeth, you will still need to follow up with a thorough brushing yourself; however, it is a key time to engage him in the habit of brushing his teeth.  We often brush teeth during bath time; however, in an effort to make this a more consistent daily habit, we have started brushing teeth also in the morning.  You may or may not want to include toddler toothpaste in your brushing routine.  You may or may not also want to attempt flossing your child’s teeth.  For us, we are simply brushing teeth without toothpaste or floss yet.  We will work toward those two; however, for now we are focusing on brushing teeth as a desirable and semi-independent habit.
Washing Hands
I have to admit that so often, it is way easier to use hand sanitizer than lift my toddler to the sink and help him scrub his hands.  My biggest deterrence from washing hands has simply been that once we turn the water on, my son will want to continue to play in the water for many, many minutes.  I realize, though, that washing hands in a necessary life skill, especially as we move towards potty training.  My goal right now is simply to make this a more regular and semi-independent habit.  We have a step-stool that has been added to the bathroom sink area where our eventual potty training will take place.  This is where we will practice our hand washing skills.
Playing Independently and  Alone
We recently moved into a two story house that is quite a bit larger than the condo we had been living for the past three years.  Since moving into the house (and since my one year old has become extremely mobile), I have noticed that my toddler has had a difficult time knowing how or where to play by himself.  While formerly he loved playing by himself and getting “alone time,” since moving into the house, he has not really been able to do this nor wanted to be that far from where I am. 
After talking with a friend who has a son of a similar age and a house similar to ours (with the kids’ rooms upstairs and the living space downstairs), I have begun working towards making my son’s room upstairs more of a desirable place for him to play.  I have purposefully placed some of his favorite (and “older”) toys in his room.  I have also engaged him in the toys, told him I would be downstairs, and let him play.  His time playing alone in his room started out small but has slowly increased.  Gaining the confidence to play alone in our bigger house has been such a good thing for him. 
While a big house may not be the drawback to getting your toddler to play alone, if he or she is not finding a way to do that, you may began considering what is the limiting factor.  Then begin to work around this, building in little bits of independent play time. 
Letter Work
I continued our regular letter work with the Letter “H” by following the activities we’ve done with previous letters (see below for an explanation of each activity). 
Coloring the Letter “H”
To introduce the later “H,” simply draw an outline (or Google a template of the letter “H” to print).  We will talk about the letter “H” and will color it. 
Letter Search
We will continue our work on the letter “H” by trying to identify the “H” in words that start with the letter “H.”  It is important at this stage to choose words that start with the letter “H” and only have that “H” in them.  Write the words in all capital letters.  Make a game of searching for the “H.” 
Rainbow “H”

We will also practice tracing the letter “H.”  This may be a bit difficult for some children, so please pass on this activity if it is too stressful.  We will do a “Rainbow H,” by tracing the outline of a capital letter “H” in multiple colors.
For additional Letter “H” activities, click here. 

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