While self care skills often seem straightforward and mundane to adults, they aren’t to your child who’s learning them for the first time.
Self care skills are how your child learns to increase their independence.
Your child may start with skills like putting on and taking off their shoes and socks or brushing their teeth, and eventually they should be able to get fully dressed and tie their own shoes.
Issues with sensory processing and motor skills may mean that self care skills have been a struggle for your child to learn.
However, pediatric therapy for self care skills development can help your child get caught up with their peers.
In particular, occupational therapy for children near me can help your child navigate the fine motor tactics needed for self care skills.
You’ll find both here at Little Feet Pediatric Therapy.
Let’s take a closer look at how occupational therapy can help with self care skills development.
What Are Self Care Skills?
Self care skills are the skills required by your child to maintain their basic needs.
These skills are among the first ways your child will learn to perform a sequential task and plan ahead.
Feeding, using the toilet, and dressing themselves are all self care skills.
Grooming tasks are also self care skills and include tooth brushing, bathing, hair washing, and nail cutting.
Daily tasks such as opening lunch boxes and putting on pants will be among the first your child will need to master.
Why Are Self Care Skills Important?
Though all children need assistance for tasks at first, there’s an expectation that they will learn certain skills by certain ages so they can do things like attend preschool.
If self care skills are more difficult for your child this can affect and limit their life experiences.
School may be more difficult and your child may miss out on experiences like sleeping over a friend’s house or going on school outings.
Moreover, they may feel like they don’t fit in and could be ostracized from other children for not having these important skills in their toolbox.
In particular, poor self care skills can lead to poor personal hygiene, which can have a significant impact on your child’s social skills development
Motor Skills Related To Self Care Skills
There are many fine and gross motor skills that contribute to self care skills.
Hand and finger strength are important for manipulating objects and using utensils, for example.
Similarly, hand control allows your child to use those utensils in a controlled way.
Tools are essential components of self care skills, so object manipulation is very important.
Tools might include the hairbrush your child uses to comb their hair or the pencils they use to learn to draw and write.
Many of the skills required for your child to develop their self care skills may be covered in other focused pediatric therapy treatment as well, including:
- Poor balance and coordination therapy
- Developmental delays pediatric therapy
- Pediatric therapy for handwriting issues
- And more
Should You Seek Treatment For Your Child’s Poor Self Care Skills?
If you’ve noticed your child is having trouble feeding, struggling to use tools, or needs help from adults more than their peers seem to, they may be struggling with their self care skills.
As a result they may have trouble following instructions, eating, sleeping, and even socializing.
It’s important to seek treatment if you think your child is having trouble with their self care skills.
On top of this, poor self care skills may be a sign of another issue at play which can affect other areas of their life, including:
Many children with the above disorders grow up to be happy, well adjusted adults, but they often need more support as children, which is why early intervention occupational therapy as well as physical therapy is so important.
Self care skills are the foundational skills that can lead to their future success in life, and ultimately their independence.
RELATED: How To Recognize The Signs Of Sensory Processing Disorder In Your Child
Occupational Therapy For Self Care Skills
Occupational therapy can be an effective way to help support your child’s age appropriate independence.
You want to make sure their bad habits aren’t continually reinforced.
Lacking self care skills can lead to a true feedback loop and the gap between your child and their peers could continue to widen.
Your pediatric occupational therapist can use specific tasks to help your child learn to navigate their skill building so they no longer need to rely on an adult helper.
Here are some of the approaches your pediatric occupational therapist may take.
1. Strength And Stability Exercises
By increasing strength and stability, an occupational therapist can help ease the amount of effort your child needs to complete self care tasks.
Once these tasks are easier for your child to complete they will become more natural for them to perform.
2. Addressing Sensory Processing Issues
If your child has sensory and tactile processing issues it might lead them to have difficulty grooming themself or getting dressed.
It’s common for child with sensory processing issues to dislike their hair being combed or shampooed and might put up a fight with getting dressed due to discomfort in the clothing.
Occupational therapists can help your child get used to tactile input so it’s easier for them to process.
With a variety of strategies, including sensory integration therapy and therapeutic listening treatment, your pediatric occupational therapist can help your child improve the tasks that are difficult for them due to sensory processing issues.
3. Adapt And Modify Tasks
A good occupational therapist will get creative and help your child adapt their skills to be easier.
Tasks can be modified with different types of equipment to make the skill more natural for your child to learn.
By helping your child adapt and modify the self care tasks that are difficult for them, your occupational therapist will help them achieve independence.
4. Fine Motor Skills Development
Fine motor skills are among some of the most difficult for children.
Think about all of the fine motor skills we use in a day – from buttoning buttons to tying shoes, these tasks come up many times a day.
An occupational therapist can guide your child in refining these motions so they can increase their self care skills.
5. Executive Functioning Exercises
Executive functions include attention, task initiation, and task sequencing.
These are high level cognitive skills that your child may struggle with and most of them are needed to initiate self care skills successfully.
Your occupational therapist will have many tips and tricks up their sleeves to help your child overcome their executive function issues.
Book Your Appointment With Little Feet Pediatric Therapy Today
If you think your child needs some assistance with their self care skills, don’t hesitate.
An occupational therapist is a wonderful tool to have in your family’s arsenal as your child builds toward greater independence.
Book your appointment with Little Feet Pediatric Therapy today.
► 3535 Randolph Rd, Charlotte, NC 28211
► 1331 H St NW Ste 200, Washington, DC 20005
► St. Louis, MO
► Raleigh, NC
Founded in 2019, Little Feet Therapy offers on site pediatric physical and occupational therapy treatments for children from 2 months to 18 years old with physical and developmental concerns. Our clinics focus on providing therapy in a child’s natural setting where your child is in familiar surroundings, it puts their mind at ease and helps them focus more on the work they’re doing with their pediatric therapist. Our therapists will work with your child at your home, at school, at daycare, or another place in the community where they feel most comfortable.