There are things that we do as adults on a daily basis that we never even think about doing. They are things like opening and closing, pouring a glass of something to drink, walking in line or walking with the flow of others, and being quiet when we need to be. All of these things are practical life exercises (ELP) and your child has to have an understanding of these things if they ever want to be able to do things on their own.
ELP covers a broad range of things that we all need to know how to do if we are going to survive. It may include things like putting on shoes or tying them. It could be using Velcro or zippers, taking care of your own hair or teeth, how to care for gardens or flowers, washing your body, feeding the cat, and numerous other things. When your child is born, they do not know how to do any of these things to survive on their own, but then as they grow up, they may start to try. Your job as their parent is to teach them the things that they need to know and encouraging them to take part in things that go beyond what they are doing at the time.
Teaching Children Practical Life Exercises
Generally speaking, practical life exercises are divided into four unique areas of concentration. They include:
- Area one would be the elementary movements that include teaching children that there is a time for quiet and play, how to pour a glass of milk, and how to fold their own clothes.
- Area two will be focused more on self-care and how to blow their nose without your help, how to cut a rough fingernail, get dressed, put on a jacket and other type activities.
- Area three will focus a lot on caring for their surroundings and it is where gardening and pets come into play, but it could also include fire drill practice, learning to cook with you, washing or setting the table, and doing other household chores that are befitting for their age group.
- Area four is the development of social skills. This means they learn how to deal with disappointment, greet people, avoid interrupting others or saying excuse me if they have to, practicing proper behavior when out in public, table manners, and a variety of other skills.
Without a full understanding of all these different things, your child will not be able to successfully interact with others in their age group. They will have trouble in the classroom and not be able to listen when the teacher or others may be speaking.
How You Can Teach ELP
For some parents, you may feel that teaching life lessons is very difficult and it is something that will come naturally to your child. It would be nice if this were the truth, but it isn’t. They
learn by mimicking you. There are also guides available that can give you ideas on how to teach your child from an early age about the way that they should respond in certain situations, but the best thing you can do for them is for you to allow them to be a part of the things you do. Even if they are not ready to cook a meal on their own; they can still help you with pouring in noodles or stirring with your help. If they are too young for that, you may consider getting them a play stove or play dishes, a toy vacuum, and other toys that will encourage their growth.