Self-care skills are essential for young children to develop. They allow infants to become independent from their carers and learn to manage their own needs. Overall this gives them a huge confidence boost and a sense of accomplishment. And this starts with something as simple as shoes…
Let me set the following scenario from yesterday. I entered our Baby and Toddler Room around 2.30pm and found 13 highly excited but frustrated children between the ages of 14 and 32 months sitting on the carpet in front of me. I asked them if they were excited to go outside and received a resounding: “Yeeeeah!”. Then I asked who is putting their shoes on… and there was no answer. The children’s shoes were everywhere apart from on their feet and 2 teachers were present pulling on the children’s shoes and getting frustrated with shoe laces on converse. I gave a helping hand and it still took 3 adults nearly 15 minutes to get 13 children’s shoes on. To us (and your children!) these are 15 minutes of valuable outdoor play time these children have just lost – all over shoes. Out of 13 children 2 wore shoes that were remotely easy for children to open, slip their feet in and close.
Things don’t need to be like that, if we choose practicality over fashion when children are in nursery.
Children that are toilet training need to wear clothes they can attempt to remove in about 20 seconds or less; Jogging Pants, Leggings, Trousers with stretchy waistbands are all great items of clothing. Dungarees however should not be put on a child that needs to toilet themselves unless you like the straps to get inside the loo when they are using the toilet.
Any shoes with a simple buckle or velcro strap are great to promote children’s independence, first when it comes to taking their shoes off and then later when learning to put them on. Hi-top Converse with massive laces however will leave children (and adults) dreading outdoor play.
Your child’s success can be hugely impacted by the simple choices we make daily.
It is a huge part of our curriculum (EYFS) and we are working very hard to teach children to become independent in caring for themselves. The expectations around self-care can be found in the area of Physical Development.
Early Years Foundation Stage – Curriculum
Physical Development Outcomes: What are we expected to teach?
8-20 months: “Can actively cooperate with care routines”
16-26 months: “Shows a desire to help with dressing/undressing routines.”
22-36 months: “Helps with clothing and is beginning to be independent in self-care, but still needs adult support.”
30-50 months: “Dresses with help”
40-60 months: “They manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs successfully, including dressing and going to the toilet independently.