Building Strengths: Pick One Skill for Your Child to Work On at Home
The Understood Team
Spending more time with your child at home lets you see challenges you weren’t aware of. Discovering difficulties may not sound like good news, but it creates an opportunity. It gives you an idea of skills you can help your child build while you’re together. Working on a new skill can also be refreshing.
You don’t want to put any more pressure on your child and yourself, though. The key is to focus on one skill at a time and to do it in a way that’s not intense.
Strengthening skills can give your child a confidence boost during a difficult time. Even the smallest wins can make a big difference. And it might be easier to address it now without some of the usual pressures of school and other activities.
Here are some examples of skills you can work on, and ways to do it.
Set a timer and make it a game. Pick different activities and see how long your child can focus on them. They can be serious, like a chore, or silly, like listening to you read recipes out loud. Explore more
strategies for improving focus.
Tell jokes and play word games. Pick a few topics your child is interested in and have frequent conversations about them. Include new words and ideas as you talk. Get other
tips from a reading expert for building vocabulary.
Addition and subtraction
Use pieces of cereal or dried beans to help your child “see” math problems. For example: Start with two beans, add four more, and then count out the six beans. Learn more about
at-home items to help build math skills.
Have your child choose any topic and write something about it in a creative format. It could be an ad, a TV script, song lyrics, or a review. Younger kids can tell it to you to write down. Find more ways to
encourage your grade-schooler to write.
Washing up, brushing teeth, and getting dressed
Break self-care tasks into very small steps. You can list the steps or draw them out and then hang the directions in the bathroom or bedroom. Watch an expert explain
how to teach self-care routines.
Working with money
Empty a money jar and have your child guess how much money there is. Then have your child sort the coins by type in clusters that add up to a dollar. Ten dimes, 20 nickels, etc. Get
other tips for helping kids work with money.
Getting ready for bed
Make a picture schedule with your child, showing all the steps involved in getting ready. Have your child create a bedtime checklist to keep track of doing each step. Download
bedtime checklists for younger kids and older ones.
Social and Emotional Skills
Decide on a signal, like raising an index finger, to point out when your child interrupts. Use it when your child cuts people off or barges into conversation. Have your child use it with you, too. Get more tips for
helping your child make conversation.
Coping with challenges
Make a “How Am I Feeling?” visual chart to help your child identify emotions. Use it to help your child talk about feelings and ways to manage them. Explore other ways to
help your child build coping skills.
Picking up on body language
Play body-language charades as a family. Take index cards and write a different emotion on each one. Have a player draw a card and act out the emotion, while the others guess what it is. Find more strategies to teach your child to
read body language.