How to Teach a Toddler Adaptive Skills

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One of the things that keep parents up at night is the thought of whether their kids can function on their own when their parents cannot care for them because of one reason or another.

Although this mostly applies to older kids, there are some adaptive skills that toddlers should have even before they enter preschool. Specific activities can help them gain these skills.

Good Hygiene & How to Use the Toilet

A toddler should know how to use the toilet and how to maintain good hygiene before they ready to start preschool. You can teach them how to brush their teeth, how to bathe and what not to do in the toilet.

A good way of doing this is using pretend play. For example, you can buy your daughter a doll and show them how to brush the hair, teeth and so on.

Another thing you can reinforce is proper hand washing techniques and when one should wash their hands. These will teach your child excellent hygiene and grooming skills.

Teach Them How to Dress

It is important for toddlers to learn how to dress up. This may need you to go beyond playing pretend and teach the child how they should dress themselves. This is the right step towards improving their self-care skills. An excellent way of going about this is by giving the toddler various pieces of clothing and letting them choose what to wear.

Also, you can allow them to do some things such as fastening closures and putting on their shoes. You can start with letting them do this when they are getting ready to play outside or before it is time to go to child care.

This activity will help to improve their cognitive skills too because they will be forced to think of the proper way of getting dressed.


One of the things toddlers should know is how to feed themselves. This will also come in handy when they join school because they will just eat during mealtimes instead of waiting for caregivers to do that for them.

The necessary things a toddler should learn is how to open containers (this will help them open their lunch boxes at school), and how to eat on their own. What you need to do is give your toddler opportunities to practice these skills.

Let them try taking juice using a straw, allow them to open zippered plastic bags and let them eat on their own even if they spill some food. They will learn the right way to eat with time.

Taking Medication

Parents do not joke with medication because they want their children to get well. You can help your child to take medication seriously too through developing a routine or having visual cues they can use.

For example, you can just write somewhere ‘Take medication’ to remind them that it’s time for their medication. This should be placed in a place that they will easily notice such as the breakfast table. You can even put the actual medicines on the table. They will therefore not make such a fuss when you give them the medication.

Adaptive skills are vital because they will help your child take care of themselves.

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