Show me how: Daily living skills

What’s the aim?

To improve daily living skills and increase independence by showing rather than telling the individual the steps they need to do to complete a task.

What to do – using the TomTag 4 P’s approach


  • Does the individual understand the idea of a sequence i.e. that things follow each other in a certain order? This is important to know because when you are teaching a skill, it’s helpful to break the task down into smaller steps so that the individual can follow the steps in the right order to complete the task.
  • Decide which skill you want to work on and how many steps the individual can realistically cope with. A simple two step First-Then sequence such as ‘First use toilet Then wash hands’ works best for those who are still learning about sequences. You can always add more steps to a sequence once they have got the hang of it.


  • Pick appropriate symbols showing the steps for the skill you would like to teach. Use the blank stickers to make your own drawings if you can’t see exactly what you want.
  • Build up an activity sequence in a TomTag tag using these symbols with the steps in the right order.
  • Aim to involve the individual in the preparation of the tag as this gives them a sense of ownership and may motivate them to use it. This is also a great time to talk about how and why their TomTag will help.
  • Decide where to put the TomTag so that it is easily seen by the individual before they start the task. Do you want them to carry it or fix it to a permanent place such as on a hook in the bathroom? It must be easily visible to the individual throughout the task.


  • Cue the individual with a brief verbal instruction when it’s time for the task to begin e.g. “Check your TomTag”.
  • Gently guide them to look at their TomTag or place it in their hand and prompt them to point to the first step on their tag
  • Before each step, use the least amount of words and describe what the step is for, e.g. “Toothpaste on brush”.
  • If necessary, help them to do the step or model how to do it.
  • Show them how to turn over the button on their tag once they have completed the step.
  • Praise them for following their TomTag and completing the step
  • Cue them to check their TomTag again so that they can move smoothly onto the next step


  • If challenging behaviour occurs, focus on the activity not the behaviour.
  • Keep prompting, praising and be patient!

Download this guide as a printable pdf