5 Ways to Practice Activities of Daily Living

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Teach Independence Through Activities of Daily Living
Summer is a great time to engage your children in learning activities of daily living (ADLs) – the skills they will need to perform independently once they leave the nest!

Five Activities of Daily Living to Begin the Journey
These activities target the development of essential cognitive functions, engage children in gross motor activities, and increase fine motor capacity. In addition, you can adapt each task to your child’s age and abilities. So, let’s take a look!

Cooking
Cooking provides children with an excellent opportunity to learn a plethora of skills in the kitchen, such as measuring ingredients or planning and cooking meals. The meals can be something simple like baking cookies or making pancakes to a four-course family dinner.

Here are the skills sets that cooking helps your child develop:

Cognitive​: measuring, planning, sequencing, time management, prioritization, metacognition, working memory, flexibility, attention, and perseverance.

Gross Motor​: trunk stability, agility, balance, proprioception, strength, and eye-hand coordination.

Fine Motor​: bilateral coordination, grip strength, visual-motor control, joint mobility, and dexterity.

Laundry
Teach your children how to sort clothes, use the washer and dryer, hand wash, and fold clothes. If you want to take it to the next level, you can even teach your child to fold with joy using the Marie Kondo folding method.

Here are the skills sets that doing laundry helps your child develop:

Cognitive: ​task initiation, sequencing, separation of like and unlike items, planning, goal-directed persistence, and organization.

Gross Motor: ​standing endurance, upper body strength and endurance, bilateral coordination, range of motion, balance, motor planning, lifting, and body awareness.

Fine Motor: gross grasp and release, pincer grasp, hand strength (for handwashing).

Sewing
Teach children to sew on a button, hem pants, or mend a torn garment. These are skills some adults don’t even know!

Here are the skills sets that sewing helps your child develop:

Cognitive: ​visual-perceptual skills, sustained attention to task, flexibility, task, and self-monitoring, and processing speed.

Gross Motor: ​sitting endurance, core strength, reaction speed, and sensory-motor awareness and control.

Fine Motor: ​bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, hand and wrist range of motion, hand strength and dexterity, development of the arches of the hand, webspace development.

Money Management
This is an excellent opportunity to teach children about money. Young children can learn to count money and have jars for spending, saving, and donating. Older children can learn about budgeting, distinguishing needs from wants, learn to write and endorse checks, and reconcile a bank account.

Here are the skills sets that learning about money helps your child develop:

Cognitive: ​math and problem-solving skills, visual/perceptual skills, future thinking, planning, prioritizing, flexibility, working memory, organization, attention to detail, and metacognition.

Gross Motor: sitting or standing balance, core strength, scapular strength and stability, range of motion, and endurance.

Fine Motor: finger/hand range of motion, finger isolation, pincer grasp, in-hand manipulation, and bilateral coordination.

House Cleaning
What parent wouldn’t like a little extra help with housework? Now is an opportune time to enlist the kids in some spring cleaning!

Here are the skills sets that cleaning helps your child develop:

Cognitive: task initiation and perseverance, planning, prioritization, sequencing, stress reduction (when the house is clean, we feel better!), sustained attention, goal-directed persistence, and organization.

Gross Motor: ​ upper body range of motion, stabilization, strength, coordination, crossing midline, balance, motor planning, walking/standing/bending endurance, and stair climbing.

Fine Motor: finger/hand range of motion, grip strength, and bilateral coordination.

We hope you are all staying safe, healthy, and well throughout this crisis. And, that this helps create a new focus and enhances your lives through this pandemic and beyond.

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