BlogUncategorizedActivities of Daily Living for Children with Down Syndrome

Activities of Daily Living for Children with Down Syndrome

As human beings, we are accustomed to performing various activities throughout the day. Right from the moment we wake-up, and till we go to bed. We have various routine activities such as brushing our teeth, washing up, etc. These activities are also better known as Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). ADLs are basic self-care activities that all individuals master as they keep growing. For example, eating breakfast, putting on clothes, etc.

Children start performing these activities right from a very young age. For example, a 4-year-old most likely will start picking out their clothes and at a later age, will be able to dress with or without support. Learning these tasks for children is progressive and they get better at doing these activities as they get older. The main goal of learning ADLs is to make your child independent. And children with Down syndrome are no exception!

The earlier you introduce these activities to the children, the better they get at performing their ADLs independently. It is important to set aside some time and practice to support children with Down syndrome to achieve these important skills. Children with Down syndrome require guidance and strategies to learn ADLs. It is also very important that they receive adequate practice and time to acquire these skills.

Remember, all children are unique and have their developmental course. You can opt to choose one or more activities at a time to work on with your child depending on their abilities. Here are some suggested ADLs for children with Down syndrome.


For children aged 4-7 years

Self-care related activities

  • Teach your child to use fasteners and buttons.
  • Support your child to groom and style their hair.
  • Provide support in picking out their own clothes.

Chore related activities

  • Help make a bed: rearrange the pillows, tidy up the bedsheets.
  • Encourage cleaning up after playing with toys.
  • Picking dirty clothes and putting it in the basket.
  • Support in carrying and putting away groceries.

Meal preparation related activities

  • Teaching to use a knife to cut their own food.
  • Learning to open own containers: snack boxes, food containers, bottles
  • Understand where the snacks are kept in the kitchen and fetch them from their stored place.
  • Encourage participation while meal prepping: you can practice pouring and mixing food items.

Note: Once the skills for ages 4 to 7 years are mastered, you can move on to the following activities.

For children aged 8-12 years

Meal preparation related activities

  • Assist while preparing meals: Choose and line up the ingredients, use a favourite recipe under supervision.
  • Assist while cutting vegetables and fruits.
  • Assist while making simple snacks like making a sandwich.
  • Learning to use the microwave

Chore related activities

  • Assist with loading and unloading the dishwasher.
  • Assist with folding and arranging the folded clothes.
  • Learning how to sweep the floor and vacuum under parental supervision.

School related activities

  • Learning to pack and organize own backpack based on scheduled school work.
  • Learning to pack a school snack box.
  • Learning to use a planner to plan assignments, home work, test dates etc.

Life skills related activities

  • Understand money concept and how it is used.
  • Leaning to save allowances.
  • Learning to make or answer a phone call.

Note: Once the skills for ages 8 to 12 years are mastered, you can move on to the following activities

For children aged 13-15 years

Meal preparation related activities

  • Learning to use the oven with supervision
  • Prepare simple meals under minimal supervision
  • Participate while making grocery lists
  • Assist with regular grocery shopping

Chore related activities

  • Carry out a few assigned weekly chores.

School related activities

  • Learn to manage own time table and homework

Life skills related activities

  • Understanding money concepts in depth, cost of items, whether they have sufficient money to make a purchase.

Note: Once the skills for ages 13 to 15 years are mastered, you can move on to the following activities

For children aged 16-18 years

Meal preparation related activities

  • Learning to make healthy meal choices. This includes choosing healthy vs unhealthy foods, portion sizes etc.
  • Begins to use simple recipes independently.

Life skills related activities

  • Understanding and learning the importance of safety.
  • Understanding how to manage own schedules, time management etc.


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