Toddler Self Care

Toddler Self-care


When does your child begin to develop self-care (doing things for him/her self)?

Watching your young child become independent can be “bitter sweet” but it is a crucial part of every

child’s personal and social development.

The first stirrings of independence can start as early as 8 months old. Your baby will begin to understand

how objects relate to one another and my use them for their intended use such as brushing her hair,

babbling on her play phone, etc. Then, at around 11 months, she will learn how to drink out of her cup

and then hold her own cup (the one handed grip comes at about 24 months).

Significant advances become fast and furious at about 18 months. Your toddler will recognize himself in

the mirror and then begin saying “no” to just about everything.

Here are some milestones in self-care your child will accomplish from 8 months to 2 years. This

information is provided by Positive Parenting Connection.


Self-care Skills for Babies (crawlers) to 12 months


1. Throw bib in laundry hamper

2. Clean face and hands with damp wash cloth (finish up with help)

3. Put own shoes away (with help- should have an assigned spot)

4. Feed self a snack (cheerios, cubed soft fruits)

5. Hold spoon and/or tooth brush imitating parent or siblings

6. Play alone for 10 -30 minutes

Self-care Skills from 12 – 18 months (continue all above plus)

1. Wash hands (may need help)

2. Brush teeth (need help)

3. Begin exploring how to undress self and take off /put on shoes

4. Leaning how to use a hair brush

5. Choose own outfit (this is really funny if you have a sense of humor) offer limited choices

6. How to drink from an open cup

7. Eat alone with spoon or fork

8. Play alone for 10 -30 minutes


Self-care Skills form 18 months – 2 years (continue all above plus)


1. Undress pants/shorts

2. Learn how to dress self (funny)

3. Put own pajamas in drawer

4. Take off and put away shoes

5. Hang up coat (provide hook)

6. Serve self a snack from a shared plate into own bowl or plate

7. Use a napkin him self

8. Pour water from pitcher into a glass (be prepared for spills)

9. Learn how to wipe up spills

10. Put trash into trash can

11. Play alone 15 – 40 minutes


As always, encouragement is the key. Whenever you child tries something new, it may take many tries

to master the new skill. Have patience and a sense of humor however do not laugh at your child- he/

she may not realize they are cute and think you are making fun of them. Laugh together and try it again.

When to be concerned:

Children develop differently, some more quickly than others) If your child has not shown interest in

doing anything for himself by the time he’s 2, tell the doctor at his next appointment. Remember

premature babies develop these skills at a slower rate but catch up by the time they are three years old.

Our next blog talks about self- skill development from 3 years to 5 years.

Then teaching your 16 year old how to drive is enough to really make you crazy- You will look at him/her

like he is still learning how to put on his shirt or shoes.

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