Component 1: Health and Safety Practices

Learning Goal 1.c: Children develop self-help skills.

By 9 months, most children:

  • Fuss or cry when hungry and quiet down when picked up to be fed in a timely manner
  • Coordinate sucking and swallowing
  • Assist with self-feeding by holding a bottle or breast; turn their head away when full
  • Explore food with their hands and fingers (e.g., crackers and other easy-to-handle foods)
  • Accept most basic care routines administered by adults (e.g., gum cleansing or nose wiping)
  • Relax during bathing routines
  • Babble or coo after diapering
  • Indicate their needs and wants (e.g., wanting food or a dirty diaper to be changed)

By 18 months, most children:

  • Point to food when wanting more
  • Feed themselves finger foods
  • Drink from a cup with some spilling
  • Drink from a straw
  • Use a spoon with some spilling
  • Accept more involved care routines administered by adults (e.g., tooth brushing)
  • Participate in hand- washing with assistance
  • Participate in dressing or attempt to dress themselves
  • Remove some clothing
  • Use gestures, body language, or vocalizations to seek out help from an adult

By 24 months, most children:

  • Feed themselves with spoon and fork (with some spilling) if early self-help skills are valued and taught in their family culture
  • Drink from a cup (with some spilling) if early self-help skills are valued and taught in their family culture
  • Participate in some self tooth brushing while an adult is helping them brush their teeth
  • Indicate choices in clothes and shoes by gesturing or using simple words
  • Have limited control over bowels and bladder
  • Use a tissue when offered by an adult to wipe nose, face, or hands

By 36 months, most children:

  • Understand the difference between food and non-food items
  • Recognize when foods are new to them and choose whether to taste or not
  • Cooperate and assist with tooth brushing
  • Wash hands with assistance
  • Dress or undress with minimal assistance
  • Sit on a toilet
  • Obtain and use tissues to wipe their nose, face, or hands
  • Indicate when not feeling well

By 48 months, most children:

  • Help with mealtime routines, such as setting a table
  • Brush their teeth with assistance from an adult
  • Wash and dry hands with verbal prompts and support
  • Attempt dressing and undressing
  • Put their shoes on but may need assistance with tying them
  • Choose their own clothes to wear
  • Use a toilet
  • Cover their mouth when coughing

By 60 months, most children:

  • Help in preparing snacks and meals
  • Demonstrate independence in personal self-care skills (e.g., washing hands, brushing teeth)
  • Dress or undress
  • Manage zippers, buttons, buckles, and Velcro
  • Tell an adult caregiver when tired