spin-off: What self care tasks SHOULD a 6 year old be able to do herself? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 24 Old 06-01-2010, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I feel that my 6 year old does not do enough self care herself and relies on us (parents) to do it all for her. I don't feel she does much more for herself than my 2 year old does for herself.

I believe some of the Montessori philosophy, and think it kids get a huge sense of accomplishment, pride, and good self esteem by doing things on there own that they are capable of and mastering new things.

Are there some guidelines anywhere about what self care average kids do and should be able to do on there own at various ages?
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#2 of 24 Old 06-01-2010, 12:49 PM
 
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I'm not sure what published guidelines are out there, but I can share what my 5.5-year-old does for self-care if that helps provide a baseline (assuming some others share, as well).

DD regularly:

-picks out her own clothes
-gets dressed and undressed by herself (occasional help needed for buttons and zippers on the backs of dresses)
-puts dirty clothes in correct hampers with some prompting
-brushes and flosses own teeth (we put toothpaste on brush and take a turn when she's done)
-ties shoelaces
-helps pick out meals, sets the table
-puts dishes in sink (with LOTS of reminders)
-pours own drinks without spilling

Is that the kind of thing you're thinking of?
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#3 of 24 Old 06-01-2010, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earthmama369 View Post
I'm not sure what published guidelines are out there, but I can share what my 5.5-year-old does for self-care if that helps provide a baseline (assuming some others share, as well).

DD regularly:

-picks out her own clothes
-gets dressed and undressed by herself (occasional help needed for buttons and zippers on the backs of dresses)
-puts dirty clothes in correct hampers with some prompting
-brushes and flosses own teeth (we put toothpaste on brush and take a turn when she's done)
-ties shoelaces
-helps pick out meals, sets the table
-puts dishes in sink (with LOTS of reminders)
-pours own drinks without spilling

Is that the kind of thing you're thinking of?
yes, along those lines.

She does not comb her own hair, wash her own hair and body in the bath/shower. I guess I've never really given her much chance to pour liquid (we have a water dispenser on the fridge, and with a dairy allergy in the house, I pour milk, and she doesn't drink anything else). I'll have to work on making some pitchers of water available. She does not tie laces. If she picked out the meal, we would never eat anything but macaroni and butter. I've never really asked her to help clear the table. I usually prepare the plates in the kitchen, but supposed I could ask her to help set other items on the table. I have tried recently to get her to help put her clothes away or to help fold them, but she usually refuses. She brushes her teeth, but I haven't taught her how to floss. She does pick out her clothes and dresses herself. I try not to get ones with back closures, but would help her with those. She can't button short/pants, but can do snaps. Sometimes she does ask for help with the snaps. She has only been able to do those snaps for about 8-9 months (at about 5.5). She can do zippers unless one is an unusually difficult one to start.

She still sometimes asks for help wiping after going #2.

Maybe she is not so far behind the curve? But these are the same things my 2 year old does. My 2 year old does not snap or start zippers yet, but the rest seems to be almost the same between them.
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#4 of 24 Old 06-01-2010, 01:03 PM
 
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I have a 5 yr old boy and a 7 yr old girl.

They
Get dressed
Put laundry in hamper
clean their rooms 2-3 times a week
brush teeth
help put laundry away
get their own water to drink
clean up spills
sweep their crumbs (the best they can)
bring me things while Im nursing (burp cloths, boppy, glass of water, pen....)

It requires more work for me to have them perform these tasks than it would be for me to do them, but it gets much easier as time goes on.
Its not easy at the beginning, but then it becomes second nature to them.
My daughter was so much harder because I did everything for her until I realized my toddler (boy) was doing so much. I guess because she was my first I treated her like a baby.
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#5 of 24 Old 06-01-2010, 02:50 PM
 
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DD is now 7 but last year she could do the following. Now, whether she doesor not is a different matter!

Dressing
* Pick out clothing and get dressed (with help for buttons, zippers or ties in the back).
* Tie shoes (part of her school uniform)
* Change from uniform dress to sports clothing at school independently.
* Put clean laundry away and dirty laundry in hamper (with multiple reminders)

Cleanliness
* Shower or bathe unsupervised. Needs some help with shower setting because she can't reach the showerhead and I forget to turn from hard to soft when I finish in the morning. Sometimes needs assistance turning water off if the knobs get stuck.
* Wash and comb out hair. Does still need me to style it daily (has to be back for school). She is currently trying to master putting it in a ponytail on her own.
* Brush and floss teeth (with reminders, using "reach" flosser)

Household
* Make simple snack such as a sandwich, microwaved stuff or other easy prep stuff. She is starting to learn to use small sharp knives and the stove.
* Pour drinks, assuming the bottle/pitcher isn't too heavy or large
* Serve herself food at the table, serve others as appropriate
* She CAN pick up trash, dirty dishes and such, but she generally doesn't until I hound her to death. This is a current issue for us.
* Help load dishwasher and washer/dryer
* Put away silverware and other "easy to reach" clean dishes
* Clean her room, strip her bedding, vacuum & dust -- all with heavy encouragement
* Uncover and recover the swimming pool
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#6 of 24 Old 06-01-2010, 03:10 PM
 
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My dd will be seven in a couple of weeks:

Dressing
She has been picking out and putting on her own clothes since she was very young. 2ish, I'd say. She was very clothing opinionated

Cannot tie shoes, but hasn't had much experience with it, as she's mostly barefoot or in sandals.

Put dirty laundry in the hamper, sometimes helps fold clean clothing (not well ), carries the clothing upstairs and puts away (sometimes not neatly)

Cleanliness

Bath time: needs help with the knobs in the bath because the hot water knob falls off, washes her body on her own, still needs help washing and conditioning (she has very thick hair, and I expect to be helping her with this for awhile because she also has excema on her scalp and needs to be sure everything gets rinsed out, and sometimes needs medicated shampoo that really stings if it gets in her eyes)

Has recently started combing her own hair. I need to help with knots.

Can brush her own teeth.

Completely independant in the bathroom, unless there are special circumstances (like a GI issue)

Household

Can make simple meals (PBJ, Cheese sandwhiches, etc)

I've been encouraging her to use the Foreman grill to make things like grilled cheese, but she's a little scared of the heat.

Can use the microwave to heat pretty much anything

Does not use the stove or oven, but helps with meal prep

She's scared of sharp knives, or else I would teach her to cut vegetables (my 9 yo learned to do this in 1st grade cooking class).

Can clean up her own room, when reminded.

Can strip her bed, but not make it - but she's on a top bunk, which makes it hard. She actually likes to make beds, so I often come into my room to find the bed made

Puts dishes in sink or dishwasher, can help unload dishwasher

Helps with other household tasks like wiping down counters, washing walls, sweeping (though I usually have to go after her and re-do it - she has a hard time with getting things into the dust pan), used to vaccuum when we had carpets (and she was much younger - she was 5.5 when we moved here, she was vaccumming from about 3 yo).

She's also a "little mommy" and helps with a lot of my 4 year old's self care - helps him wash his face, brush his teeth, scrape his dishes before they go in the dishwasher, frequently makes him lunch or gets him snacks, etc. I suspect that DS2 will be much later doing a lot of these things, because she loves to do them for him.
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#7 of 24 Old 06-01-2010, 05:11 PM
 
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My 7 yo-
makes her bed
brushes her hair/teeth
showers independently
gets dressed-picks out her clothes
ties shoes
makes her own breakfast
washes her own clothes-with prompting
folds and puts away own clothes
makes lunch for school
hmmm....there's more, I'm sure...
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#8 of 24 Old 06-01-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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My daughter is 5.5

She doesn't tie her shoes(most of them don't have laces)but does all the other dressing(multiple times a day).

She takes care of everything in the bathroom(including trimming her own nails) by herself except for occasional hair washing and once in a while detangling.

She helps with household chores but mostly needs to be asked(although lately she has been surprising me by making my bed).She cleans her room,dusts,feeds and waters the cats everyday,washes windows and mirrors,puts some dishes away and helps me fold and put away the towels and dish rags(this is a lot of stuff because we don't use paper products).She would like to vacuum but she can't stand the noise.She gets the silverware and napkins for diner but my husband usually plates the food in the kitchen but she likes to bring the plates to the table sometimes.


In the kitchen she gets herself drinks and simple snacks like fruit or will make a sandwich or toast.She helps my husband quite a bit with diner making.He has been teaching her to use the sharp knives but she only does that with his undivided attention.I'm not sure what else she does because I stay out of there when they're cooking(I know she does cook at the stove though).I have been teaching her how to make me coffee too.

Outside she helps pull weeds,water,plant and pick veggies and she loves the pitch fork.She moves the backyard chairs so I can mow.She also is responsible for getting the lid on and off the sand box herself.In the winter she helps shovel.

She also helps quite a bit with the babies we take care of.She brings me dipes and supplies and she really likes to help feed them.She pretty much loves to help with any of their care that she is able to.

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#9 of 24 Old 06-01-2010, 07:14 PM
 
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My 5.5 yr old boy can

pick own clothes and dress himself (so can my 3/yo)

pour a drink and serve himself out of a serving bowl. (so can 3/yo, with a little more spilling--but DS1 has been in a preschool where they did family style lunch for 2.5 years, so lots of practice!)

brush own teeth. He actually mostly does a pretty good job, sometimes I have to remind him to do the backs or something. My 3/yo does OK too.

He can't tie shoes. He needs help fastening some of his pants. He needs help with a belt if he wears one. I help get their clothes down if they are hanging up, they're high.

He *can* get a shirt buttoned--see if it's wrong and fix it. (though he usually refuses button down shirts, he has a PJ top that he loves and he can do that.)

and this isn't self-help necessarily but I am proud--he learned to ride without training wheels last week!

lovin DH since 1/04, SAHM to 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), and one 13 wk (10/13) just your average :ha ng multigenerational living family!!
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#10 of 24 Old 06-01-2010, 07:24 PM
 
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Dd1 is almost 5.5 She does the following (some I've copied and pasted)-

*chooses clothes (though sometimes she'll prefer that I do it, if she's "busy" with something else)
*Gets dressed and undressed with minimal help.
*Puts dirty clothes in the hampers
*Brushes her own teeth
*Combs her own hair, with much nagging. She prefers I don't do it, because of tangles.
*Working on tying shoelaces; mostly not an issue.
* Helps set the table
*Helps with some cooking; still cautious around super hot things and needs work on using sharp knives.
* waters plants in outdoor beds
* showers on her own, including washing and conditioning hair.
* Can tidy her own room
* helps put away laundry
* Pour drinks, assuming the bottle/pitcher isn't too heavy or large
* Serve herself food at the table, serve others as appropriate
* Helps load the washer/dryer; helps hang out clothes.
* She likes to clean - seriously, she likes to clean the toilets, so I let her. Same with vacuuming and sweeping.
* Still sometimes asks for help with wiping after poop, even though we've established that she's perfectly capable of doing it on her own.

Now, does she do all of this all the time? Not really; definitely there are days when if she had her way, we'd wait on her hand and foot.

Mom of two girls.
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#11 of 24 Old 06-01-2010, 10:08 PM
 
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My 6yo DD can:

- brush her own hair and tie it into a ponytail, although not neatly
- choose her own clothes, usually (but not always) appropriate for the weather
- brush teeth, with supervision
- bathe herself, wash hair with assistance, dry herself except for back/hair
- pour drinks from a jug or bottle as long as it's not too big/heavy, get water from the tap with a stool to stand on
- is learning to tie shoes
- is learning to peel potatoes/carrots but needs supervision and reminding to peel away from her body

Annie '02, Juliet '04, Natalie '07, Maggie '08, Theodore 11/8/10.
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#12 of 24 Old 06-01-2010, 11:50 PM
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My 7 year old dsd does most of the things already mentioned by pp's. She washes herself, will set the table, help prepare dinner (peeling carrots, potatoes etc) she combs her own hair, pours her own drinks, picks out her clothes and dresses herself, ties her shoes and will tidy her room (when asked!) and cleans up her messes, helps to clear the table when it's her turn.
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#13 of 24 Old 06-02-2010, 12:42 AM
 
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a couple things here made me smile

My 5/yo not so much of a cleaner.

My THREE year old dd *loves* and will come and ask if she can wash dishes. Most of the time, I let her, and she actually does a pretty good job! (I make sure there's no knives, the large glass-glasses, that kind of stuff.)

The other thing they BOTH *love* to do is take the dustbuster and vacuum out the couch cushions.

They are *capable* of picking up toys, they hate to do it...usually have to threaten to get out a garbage bag.

lovin DH since 1/04, SAHM to 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), and one 13 wk (10/13) just your average :ha ng multigenerational living family!!
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#14 of 24 Old 06-02-2010, 02:51 AM
 
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I'm baffled by dd1's infatuation with cleaning products but am willing to go with it until she--inevitably?--outgrows it.

Mom of two girls.
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#15 of 24 Old 06-02-2010, 03:37 AM
 
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My DS will be six in August.

He can get drinks himself (pouring milk/juice) with minimal spilling. He usually only spills if he is distracted by something else. I still have to get cups for him because he can't reach and he knows he's not allowed to climb the counters (though he showed us that he can )
He can microwave leftovers for himself. He knows not to put metal in there or put anything in for longer than "one zero zero".
He helps me set the table and sometimes helps me make dinner (pouring milk into potatoes for mashing, stirring pudding, rolling out dough for cookies, pouring in ingredients)
Even though he makes a mess, he usually gets himself breakfast (cereal) because he wakes up before I do.

He can dress himself but still needs help with zippers and some buttons and for some reason he cannot figure out socks. They're always on upside down.
He doesn't know how to tie laces yet, but he doesn't own a pair with laces so I don't feel too bad about that. He hasn't had any experience since I let him pick out his shoes when he gets new ones and he likes velcro.

He bathes himself (I get the water ready) unsupervised. He does all the cleaning except for shampooing his hair (I still do that).

He can brush his teeth on his own but usually leaves a huge mess of toothpaste in the sink.

DS 8/4/04 "You're my best mommy in the deep blue sea!"
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#16 of 24 Old 06-02-2010, 10:04 AM
 
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DD1 is almost six. She can do most of the things mentioned. She doesn't always do them without reminding, or without complaining, but she does them. She's not a naturally self-reliant child-- I've had to push her in to it. It helps that she had two younger siblings who can both do a lot of these things, and who keep me busy enough that I can honestly tell her, "you gotta do it, because I have my hands full."

She can:
brush her teeth (flouride-free)

bathe herself

pour drinks as long as the jug isn't too full

cut her own food if it isn't too difficult (like a pork chop or something! )

puts dirty clothes in the hamper, can fold and put clean laundry away, and can run the washer and dryer with supervision

can set the table, and clear it up

can water the garden, pick beans or peas or strawberries or any picking that doesn't need clippers

can vacuum

can serve herself at the table

empty the bathroom or laundry room trash bins

can strip down her own bed and get the bedclothes into the laundry

cleans up all her own toys

picks out clothes and dresses herself

can be responsible for her younger siblings for short periods of time

doesn't leave trash or dirty dishes lying around

is independent in the bathroom

She does still need help with:
tying her shoes
the buttons on some clothes
washing her hair (it's thick and long, and difficult to manage)
combing her hair (for the same reason)

She hasn't done much cooking-- she's not really interested-- but she can make a sandwich or something simple like that. I think she would be ABLE to cook, but she doesn't want to.

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#17 of 24 Old 06-02-2010, 10:40 PM
 
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Dd is 5.5.

She can wash her body by herself but needs help with hair (it's pretty thick.) I still brush and style it.

Gets dressed on her own except for zippers on dresses (like her uniform) and tying shoes (but she also doesn't have very many pairs of shoes that require tying.)

Puts away her laundry (and helps with any of ours if I ask) and puts her dirty clothing in the laundry room.

Gets her own drinks and snacks when needed, sets table, clears her dishes when she's done, cleans off the table after meals and can do various cooking skills but I'm not sure what because the idea freaks me out so dh is teaching her

Brushes her teeth but we do a pass since she has a couple cavities that we want to keep an eye on.

She watches her siblings if I'm in a jam.

Clean up the toys in the living room and both her room and her brothers (she helps him clean it up without me asking.)

Can fold up clean blankets and towels, just not in the way I like so she only does it at school and very rarely at home.

Helps with anything I ask her to with house chores.

Mama of three.
 
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#18 of 24 Old 06-03-2010, 08:44 AM
 
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OP - something to consider - it TOTALLY depends on the personality of the child. It isn't a race. Maybe your older DDs love language is care, she wants to see how you care for her, so you helping her dress = love to her. Ok, that's a bit simplistic, but you get the idea. And maybe your youngest DD has a totally different love language?

I have a 3.5 yo who can do most of the things on people's list - get dressed/undressed, pick out her clothes (barf, often hurts my eyes), pours own drinks, gets snacks, puts away clean/dirty dishes.... BUT - she is a very independent, "I CAN DO IT MYSELF" girl.

Meanwhile, I also have a 5.5 yo DS, who does not want to do most of the things on the list. He says "I can't, you need to help me mommy." Me picking out his clothes and helping him put them on, to him this means I love him. It's just really not his interest. Now technically he can, because when he is at kindergarten he can dress himself... just fine. Which means there is no worry that there is something wrong, only that it is personality. There are other things, not self-care, that he is totally awsome at. Sometimes I have to remind myself that my two kids are just really different. Though often it's super obvious.
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#19 of 24 Old 06-03-2010, 08:54 AM
 
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#20 of 24 Old 06-03-2010, 11:14 AM
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My 4.5 yr. old can do all the things listed except use the stove. We taught my 7 yr. old how to use the stove at 6.
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#21 of 24 Old 06-03-2010, 11:15 AM
 
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My 5.5 year old can:

Wash her own body/hair
Brushes her hair in the morning
Pick out her own clothes & get dressed
Get her own cups/bowls/plates down from the cabinets and prepare her own snacks.
Heat up chicken nuggets in the microwave (I found this out yesterday!)
Fix the dog her food
Brush her own teeth
Wipe her own butt
Hang her own clothes
Clear her dishes after dinner
Wash dishes
Wipe down the kitchen table after dinner
Water the plants outside

My DD is very independent and I agree with what Allison said below. It is totally dependent on the child's personality. My 7 year old son can do all of these things, but he needs lots of reminders. He is also too into his own world to think twice about going outside and watering the plants. He'll do it if I ask, but I have to ask. DD is the total opposite. She asks to do all this stuff and likes to surprise me by coming out in the morning all dressed and ready to go. She also loves to help clean and take care of the dog and make her own meals.
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#22 of 24 Old 06-03-2010, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonR View Post
OP - something to consider - it TOTALLY depends on the personality of the child. It isn't a race. Maybe your older DDs love language is care, she wants to see how you care for her, so you helping her dress = love to her. Ok, that's a bit simplistic, but you get the idea. And maybe your youngest DD has a totally different love language?

I have a 3.5 yo who can do most of the things on people's list - get dressed/undressed, pick out her clothes (barf, often hurts my eyes), pours own drinks, gets snacks, puts away clean/dirty dishes.... BUT - she is a very independent, "I CAN DO IT MYSELF" girl.

Meanwhile, I also have a 5.5 yo DS, who does not want to do most of the things on the list. He says "I can't, you need to help me mommy." Me picking out his clothes and helping him put them on, to him this means I love him. It's just really not his interest. Now technically he can, because when he is at kindergarten he can dress himself... just fine. Which means there is no worry that there is something wrong, only that it is personality. There are other things, not self-care, that he is totally awsome at. Sometimes I have to remind myself that my two kids are just really different. Though often it's super obvious.

That is a really good point about personality.

I am just reading through these other posts here, and my dd does not do alot of these things. She absolutely refuses to pick up her toys, instead she will have a temper tantrum. Once in a blue moon she may be willing to make her bed or help with laundry, and never with cleaning (except they both enjoy "cleaning" the tub with me).

As far as getting own snacks, I actually don't think I could allow her to do that if dd2 is around. dd2 has food allergies, and I cannot rely on dd1 to understand how to make sure dd2 is safe. Some days when she does not have school, when I leave for work, I will leave a selection of crackers or cereal out that she can eat while dh is still sleeping. But I would not feel comfortable with her making a sandwich or getting out milk or something on her own because of the allergy issue. what if she spills the milk? it isn't just an issue of cleaning up, but cleaning up exceptionally well to remove any allergy risk. Or what if she cross-contaminates something and I don't know so we keep using it. I can't chance that. She doesn't use the microwave or toaster. She has not used sharp knives yet. She has never cut her own food (I honestly never thought about it since I am already cutting it for the younger dd, I typically do both at the same time, then split it between their plates).

She does not set the table or clear it. She does not comb her hair or wash it. I wash her hair, and lather her up, she rinses her self after I rinse her hair, and I adjust the water. She does not use the dishwasher or the washer and dryer (she isn't tall enough). Once in a blue moon, she may be willing to help dust and never vacuum (although when she was younger, she got a kick out of it).

Normally any requests for her to do anything around the house are met with temper tantrums and meanness to everyone. She just wants to play and doesn't want to be bothered with anything else.

Sometimes she will play with the younger dd so that I can do things like take a shower or cook, but more often than not, it is not play, it is fighting. However, I have heard her on a couple of occasions helping dd2 use the toilet or something. I have also sent the two of them upstairs asking her to help dd2 pick out some clothes and put them on (which she can really do on her own, with occasional difficulties putting something on - like arm in the wrong hole).
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#23 of 24 Old 06-04-2010, 10:13 AM
 
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wash.gif  Me  + bikenew.gif Dh =  broc1.gif  Dd1(9 yrs) + hearts.gif  Dd2(6 yrs) and blowkiss.gif Ds(3.5 yrs)
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#24 of 24 Old 06-04-2010, 03:50 PM
 
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DD is 6.

She takes her own showers, brushes her own teeth, puts away her laundry if she is home when it needs to be done, clears her own dishes, and gets her own snacks sometimes (only nonrefrigerated ones--I admit, I don't let her scavenge in the fridge). She is capable of putting herself to bed when this is necessary (she and DS go to bed at the same time, so sometimes I ask her to do this when DH is out). She cleans her room once a week and uses the dustbuster to vacuum up any messes she makes.

The kids (DS is 2) are responsible for cleaning up the living room at the end of the day, and believe me, it gets trashed.

She does not pour her own milk because we get gallons and she isn't very good at pouring something that big. I also have not taught her to use knives or the stove. She doesn't seem ready. She also does not brush or fix her own hair--it's long and very tangly.

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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