Parents are a child's first teacher. We help them learn to crawl, to walk, to eat, to talk, and develop social skills. As our children enter their preschool years, they are able to do and learn more skills, but teaching them proves to become more of a challenge as they exhibit their own levels of motor skills, problem-solving skills, and independence. It's important for parents to stick with it as we help children learn, grow, and develop a strong sense of self.

1. Get Rid of Distractions

Don't attempt to teach your child anything new while there are distractions such as the television. If she isn't paying attention, she won't be learning and you will just become irritated.

2. Demonstrate

The best way to begin teaching a child anything from tying her shoe to making her bed is by showing how to do it. Let your child observe you, once or even a few times depending on the task. Explain the steps that you are taking to get the job done in a simple and concise way that she can understand. Give her some helpful tips along the way to prepare her for completing the task herself.

3. Help

Once your child has watched you demonstrate the task, let her try it with a little assistance from you. This is a great opportunity to remind her of your tips, such as the best way to get a shirt on — headfirst or arms first. The first few times she attempts to master this new skill she will need a lot of help from you; speak calmly and reassure her that she is doing a great job. Some children become frustrated when they can't do something perfectly the first time. Explain that everything takes practice and that you had to try many times before you got it right when you were her age.

4. Supervise

Once your child starts getting the hang of it, or once she says she can do it herself, take a step back and let her. It's important for parents to get out of the habit of doing everything for their child, or that child will struggle with self-reliance and self-esteem. The more skills she gains, the more confidence she will have and the more freedom you will have as a parent. We aren't raising children, we are raising adults who will hopefully become compassionate, caring, confident, contributing members of society.

5. Practice Patience

If your child is taking longer than you would like to excel at this new skill, have patience. She is likely frustrated and will need you to be the voice of reason. If she is slow going at getting dressed and you are running late, try not to show your stress or frustration. This is a good time to offer to help her get dressed in order to keep you calm and keep her self-esteem intact.

6. Lend Support

When your child first accomplishes the task on her own, celebrate. Have a special meal or go on a special outing. This will help her to realize just how great it is to do things for oneself. Once your child is completing new skills and tasks on her own regularly, it's okay to walk away. You don't need to watch her brush her teeth or make her bet, but be available for support if she is struggling or feeling frustrated.

If she comes to you for help with skills she has mastered, talk to her about why she wants help and don't make her feel that she's wrong to ask. Provide assistance and support, and make sure she understands that you are always there when she needs you while reminding her that she can do it herself! It's a great opportunity for you to teach her your techniques for dealing with stress.

Teaching a child new skills is one of the best parts of parenthood, but can also be difficult. It is frustrating when children don't pay attention or take longer than necessary. Make sure your child is ready to learn any new skill before you starting the lesson.