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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DD has been an only for almost 4 years, and I think we have not encouraged independence quite as much as we could have and catered to her a bit more than is necessary. (She is also has some mild motor skill delays, but that's really only part of it.) As we prepare to welcome child #2, I'm thinking about how to encourage a little more independence from her in terms of everyday tasks, but I'm not sure what is age-appropriate. So...

Does your 4yo...

--Wipe him/herself after pooping?
--Dress and undress him/herself without significant help, including socks and shoes?
--Choose his/her own clothes?
--Brush his/her own teeth without a second brush by you?
--Brush his/her own hair?
--Take his/her own bath, with intermittent supervision?
--Get his/her own snacks out of the fridge? Maybe even breakfast, if it's something like cereal and milk?
--And how independent is the child at bedtime? Can you pretty much say "Go get ready for bed," issue a few reminders along the way, and then you just do the "bonding" parts of the routine (vs. the self-care stuff)?

(In case you haven't guessed, DD does not do any of the above yet. I'm not sure she can manage full self-dressing yet, but she could do the rest.)

I'm also interested in anything else you can think of that your 4yo does independently in terms of self-care
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by loraxc View Post
DD has been an only for almost 4 years, and I think we have not encouraged independence quite as much as we could have and catered to her a bit more than is necessary. (She is also has some mild motor skill delays, but that's really only part of it.) As we prepare to welcome child #2, I'm thinking about how to encourage a little more independence from her in terms of everyday tasks, but I'm not sure what is age-appropriate. So...

Does your 4yo...

--Wipe him/herself after pooping?
--Dress and undress him/herself without significant help, including socks and shoes?
--Choose his/her own clothes?
--Brush his/her own teeth without a second brush by you?
--Brush his/her own hair?
--Take his/her own bath, with intermittent supervision?
--Get his/her own snacks out of the fridge? Maybe even breakfast, if it's something like cereal and milk?
--And how independent is the child at bedtime? Can you pretty much say "Go get ready for bed," issue a few reminders along the way, and then you just do the "bonding" parts of the routine (vs. the self-care stuff)?

(In case you haven't guessed, DD does not do any of the above yet. I'm not sure she can manage full self-dressing yet, but she could do the rest.)

I'm also interested in anything else you can think of that your 4yo does independently in terms of self-care
We just potty trained and so I dont know whats "normal" but mine requires tons of assistance in that dept.

They cant brush their own teeth effectivley-you have to help until around age 6. (As much as they would like to.
)

Mine can be left in the bathtub alone intermittantly just fine. (But sometimes when Iget back the bathroom is totally soaked-it took some time to teach him that wasnt approproate)

He can also get his own snacks if they are easily accesible-like a snack bowl/shelf/drawer.

He doesnt do ANYTHING without me making him at bedtime. He wont even chosoe his own story unless I am pressing him. (He would like to take 30 min just to choose-he is very thorough.
)
 

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yes to all of the above, in that she can do them all.

However I have to check on things like her butt and teeth and I still go to bed with her. I also generally help her get dressed in the morning when she has school because she wants me to because it takes her longer but when we aren't going anywhere she does it herself on her own schedule.

She still night wets so I have to wash her in the morning if she pees.

But she is able to do all of the above, does most of them most of the time

Guess I am lucky!
 

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Definitely not the wiping or brushing teeth. He's a young four, but I can't imagine him doing those things this year. Choosing clothes and getting dressed -- yes, assuming he's in the mood. But if we're in a hurry, it's faster for me to do it with him. Can take his own bath, but doesn't like to. Not much independence at bedtime, either. He'll pick out his own books, but honestly, we like to supervise, otherwise he'll pick three reaaaalllly long ones!

Sorry that I don't have better news for you. I found that I just incorporated the new baby into the current routine. Not that it was always easy, though.

-Erin
 

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DD is almost 5. She can do everything you listed, however, she's had a younger brother for nearly 2 years and I do think that has greatly encouraged her independence as far as self-care.

That said, she still wears pull-ups to bed, I snuggle her to sleep every night, and she nurses.
 

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--Wipe him/herself after pooping?
He *can* do this, but it takes a lot of prompting; usually he prefers to whine for us to come wipe him.
: I have recently purchased those flushable wipes and he's much better with those. I check him at home, since at ps he wipes on his own and always has "streaks".

--Dress and undress him/herself without significant help, including socks and shoes?
Definitely not shoes and socks. He has wide feet and sometimes I can barely get his s&s on! He can do Crocs and sandals alone, but not sneakers or other lace-up shoes (plus he doesn't know how to tie.)

--Choose his/her own clothes?
Yes he does, although usually I just do it. I prefer he wear different clothes to preschool, for example. Fortunately for me, he's never much cared what he wears, so it's never been an issue (I actually see this as a good thing, although I'm just now realizing that I will eventually want him to pick out his own clothes...)

--Brush his/her own teeth without a second brush by you?
No, he will brush, but I don't think it's sufficient to actually get all the food off.

--Brush his/her own hair?
Yes, but I am not fussy about what it looks like and it's very short.

--Take his/her own bath, with intermittent supervision?
We are always in there with him and usually wash him and his hair.

--Get his/her own snacks out of the fridge? Maybe even breakfast, if it's something like cereal and milk?
He can do his own breakfast -- usually he gets it out and I assist with pouring milk. If it's a yogurt, he'll do that all on his own.

--And how independent is the child at bedtime? Can you pretty much say "Go get ready for bed," issue a few reminders along the way, and then you just do the "bonding" parts of the routine (vs. the self-care stuff)?
Not independent at all. He usually refuses to get himself in PJs even.

HTH! And FWIW, I think there are kids who are more independent and kids who are less, naturally. I'm not saying we can't encourage and enable our kids w/ better skills to be independent, but I see with my 4 yo vs. my 2 yo that the older is *much* less interested in ding stuff for himself than the 2 yo. He never went through a "me do it" phase, for example.
 

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The below answers refer to my 6yo DS:

Quote:

Originally Posted by loraxc View Post
Does your 4yo...

--Wipe him/herself after pooping? No
--Dress and undress him/herself without significant help, including socks and shoes? Yes
--Choose his/her own clothes? Yes
--Brush his/her own teeth without a second brush by you? No
--Brush his/her own hair? If nagged
--Take his/her own bath, with intermittent supervision? Yes, but we wash his hair
--Get his/her own snacks out of the fridge? Maybe even breakfast, if it's something like cereal and milk? No, sigh...
--And how independent is the child at bedtime? Can you pretty much say "Go get ready for bed," issue a few reminders along the way, and then you just do the "bonding" parts of the routine (vs. the self-care stuff)? Not independent at all, we still do pretty much the whole thing, including lying down with him until he falls asleep

As you can see, he's not all that independent. I would venture to say that his almost 3yo sister is more independent than he is. I do feel like we inadvertently encouraged this because he was an only for a while, so we just did everything for him, but I also think part of it is personality. My 2yo has been picking out and putting on her own clothes since she was 14 months?-ish and it is really her own drive to just do everything her own damn self that makes her do it.
 

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My 4.5 yr. old does all of those, although I brush his teeth a couple times a week to make sure they're REALLY clean. And occasionally I send him back upstairs to change if he doesn't dress appropriately for the weather. We don't really do much bedtime stuff, he just lays down on the couch and goes to sleep when he gets tired and I carry him to bed. He still wears a diaper to sleep and he can put it on and take it off himself (whether it makes it to the hamper or I find it on the floor is another question).
He also picks out clothes for his brother a lot, and pours cereal for both of them in the morning. And he wipes both of their faces and hands with a wet washcloth after they eat. He's pretty independent, and newly helpful.
 

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Does your 4yo...

--Wipe him/herself after pooping?

Nope. He calls me, or DF and we wipe him.

--Dress and undress him/herself
thout significant help, including socks and shoes?

He undresses himself just fine (and puts his clothes in the hamper), but I usually dress him. He'll help a little bit, but if I left him to do it, we'd never get out of the house in the am!

--Choose his/her own clothes?

Nope. He could care less as long as it's comfortable. He does prefer tennis shoes most days and will make that clear, but he's never picked out an outfit, ever.

--Brush his/her own teeth without a second brush by you?

Yes, he has a tooth brush that blinks for the amount of time you are supposed to be brushing. He does that all by himself.

--Brush his/her own hair?

His hair is really short, but I'm the one who brushes it after his bath.

--Take his/her own bath, with intermittent supervision?

No, I still wash him. But then I'll leave him to play in the tub, sometimes for an hour or so while I do things around the apartment and check in on him.

--Get his/her own snacks out of the fridge? Maybe even breakfast, if it's something like cereal and milk?

He's not a big eater, but he will get a can of PediaSure out of the fridge, and pour it in a cup for himself. I've had to limit the amount I keep in there so that he wont always choose it over other foods.

--And how independent is the child at bedtime? Can you pretty much say "Go get ready for bed," issue a few reminders along the way, and then you just do the "bonding" parts of the routine (vs. the self-care stuff)?

He's independent in that he goes to sleep very well on his own. But I still help with bath (every night), dry him off, put his Pj's on and then read books in bed.

I look at it like this .. he's done everything so far on his very own schedule. And when he decides to do something (like go on the potty) he does it 100% and never turns back. He's my one and maybe only, and I don't mind still helping him out, kwim? Before long he's going to be a big kid who wants nothing to do with my help .. I cherish these years where he still needs. me.
 

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--Wipe him/herself after pooping?
at 4, ds did not. We finally bribed him into doing it at age 6, after breaking it into small steps (first he wiped after we did to learn the motion, the next week, he wiped/we wiped alternating, the third week he wiped, we checked.) Each week he did those things, he earned a bus ride. With a super long bus ride at the end.

Dress and undress him/herself without significant help, including socks and shoes?
At 4, ds could undress himself, mostly, but had trouble getting shirts off. It's really only in the last 6 months (so after age 6) that he's been completely independent on this.

Dressing was more difficult, but he could do it. BUT we needed to be right there to help.

Socks he didn't master till close to 6.

Velcro shoes he mastered about 3 1/2 or 4 - but that's because he went to daycare and they helped.

Dd is three and can do all of these except the socks and shoes. But, we often dress her if we need to actually be somewhere. She'd rather be naked.

--Choose his/her own clothes?
Yes.

--Brush his/her own teeth without a second brush by you?

Nope. Still can't at age 6 really.

--Brush his/her own hair?

Nope. But then he's a boy with short hair and I'm ashamed to admit how rarely we brush it
.

--Take his/her own bath, with intermittent supervision?

No. He COULD, but he didn't like to. Even now at 6, he wants me to sit in there with him if his sister isn't in the tub with him.

--Get his/her own snacks out of the fridge?

He could get himself crackers, and we have a small pitcher for him to pour himself water from. He didn't get snacks from the fridge. And even today, he'd rather be served.

Maybe even breakfast, if it's something like cereal and milk?

Nope, no way, no how. Not even now. Again, I think he's ABLE, but he doesn't want to. (And we'd have to put the milk in smaller containers so he could handle it.)

--And how independent is the child at bedtime? Can you pretty much say "Go get ready for bed," issue a few reminders along the way, and then you just do the "bonding" parts of the routine (vs. the self-care stuff)?

Not at all. No way at age 4. Even at age 6, it takes a lot of involvement.

The end of the day is when my kids (and I) have no reserves and they seem to need me each step of the way. Finally in the last few months I can say to ds, "go get your pjs on" and he'll do it. But then, he has listening therapy he needs help getting on, and then he wants a snack (which he wants us to get for him) and then we need to help him brush his teeth, and then we read together, and then he wants us to stay in the room until he falls asleep.

Ds has basically needed to be dragged into self-care. He is perfectly willing to let others do it for him.

He too has some motor delays/motor planning issues that made it a challenge (he used to lay his pants out on the ground and then move his body to fit their orientation, rather than moving the pants to be the right way for where he was sitting).
 

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My DD will be 5 next month.
She does not wipe after pooping. (She'll wipe her little sister, though - LOL)

She can dress and undress herself, though she has problems figuring out which way her panties go (as do I - why do they make it so difficult) and does not know how to tie her shoes.

She has chosen her own clothes since she was 2.

She brushes her teeth, but kids don't really have the dexterity to do a good job on their teeth until they're 6 or 7, so DH and I finish up for her.

She hates brushing her hair but will let me do it.

She takes her own bath, but I wet, wash and rinse her hair.

She will get some of her own snacks, but usually we do it because we're already in the kitchen getting something for her little sister.

Bedtime is family bonding time for us...we hang out in the bedroom while the kids get into pjs, do a mass toothbrushing/flossing, then I read stories and then we split bedtime duties (one parent for each kid). DD1 does not like going to sleep on her own yet, which is okay with us 95% of the time.

I have never worried she was "behind" on self care. Shoot, some days I forget to brush my hair, yk? It'll all come in its own time. I do wish she'd wipe her own bum, though. She can ride a two-wheeler but she can't wipe yet.
 

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My 5 year old can:

--Wipe him/herself after pooping? No, still wants us to do it.

--Dress and undress him/herself without significant help, including socks and shoes? He could dress himself fully at age 4, but still cannot tie his own shoes. If they are velcro or slip ons he can do it.

--Choose his/her own clothes? Yes, he's very particular about picking out his own clothes.

--Brush his/her own teeth without a second brush by you? No, I still have to fully assist him or he won't do it at all.

--Brush his/her own hair? He has really short hair (for this reason, hates having his hair brushed)

--Take his/her own bath, with intermittent supervision? No, he still wants me or dh with him while he sits in the tub.

--Get his/her own snacks out of the fridge? Maybe even breakfast, if it's something like cereal and milk? He is just now at the point where he can get himself a bowl of nuts or goldfish, but still needs help getting anything out of the fridge.

--And how independent is the child at bedtime? Can you pretty much say "Go get ready for bed," issue a few reminders along the way, and then you just do the "bonding" parts of the routine (vs. the self-care stuff)? Not at all, he still wants us with him while he dresses himself.

He is an only child, so I think he's less independant because of that. But I don't mind helping him, I know it's not long before he won't want me at all!
 

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My 4 year olds are twins (boys).

Quote:

Originally Posted by loraxc View Post
Does your 4yo...

--Wipe him/herself after pooping? No
--Dress and undress him/herself without significant help, including socks and shoes? Yes, no help for any of these.
--Choose his/her own clothes? Yes
--Brush his/her own teeth without a second brush by you? They brush and dh or I do a second brush
--Brush his/her own hair? Super short hair, so no brushing.
--Take his/her own bath, with intermittent supervision? I wash the main parts. Most baths are water only though.
--Get his/her own snacks out of the fridge? Maybe even breakfast, if it's something like cereal and milk? Yes, sometimes.
--And how independent is the child at bedtime? Can you pretty much say "Go get ready for bed," issue a few reminders along the way, and then you just do the "bonding" parts of the routine (vs. the self-care stuff)? Sort of. I put toothpaste on the toothbrush. While they're getting ready, I'm changing the baby's diaper.

(In case you haven't guessed, DD does not do any of the above yet. I'm not sure she can manage full self-dressing yet, but she could do the rest.)

I'm also interested in anything else you can think of that your 4yo does independently in terms of self-care
 

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My DD is 4 1/2 and is the younger child of 2. She has also spent a lot of time in preschool, which has encouraged her independence a lot! Specfic answers to your list:

--Wipe herself after pooping? Yes, though sometimes forgets entirely.

--Dress and undress herself without significant help, including socks and shoes? Choose her own clothes? YEs. In fact, is very particular about clothes and never lets me pick them out. She still needs help with back buttons (but then, so do I), and she cannot tie shoes yet.

--Brush his/her own teeth without a second brush by you? We alternate. In the morning she brushes on her own, at night she gets help. Dentist suggested that self-brushing wasn't enough until they are school aged.

--Brush his/her own hair? No. She is starting to try to do this, but with mid-back length very fine hair it is difficult. She cannot style it either. She is learning to wash and rinse it.

--Take his/her own bath, with intermittent supervision? Absolutely. She also enjoys showers. Though as a PP mentioned, it took some teaching on "no flooding!"

--Get his/her own snacks out of the fridge? Maybe even breakfast, if it's something like cereal and milk? Both of my kids have been snack-independent since they were about 2. They have a shelf in the pantry and a shelf in the fridge. Anything there is fair game and can be eaten whenever. I am still reminding her to throw away the trash though. She can make herself toast and a simple sandwich, and can microwave soup and her favorite snack, baked beans.

--And how independent is the child at bedtime? Can you pretty much say "Go get ready for bed," issue a few reminders along the way, and then you just do the "bonding" parts of the routine (vs. the self-care stuff)? This one is interesting. We prompt for the next step all the way through (as in, OK, DD, now you need to get into (and out of) the bathtub/ get dry/ put on PJs/ start your teeth/ pick 3 stories) but she does them herself. Actual bedtime has always been reading stories and snuggling with her till she is asleep, something we still do even with my 8 YO DS.
 

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DS will be 5 in December, so is about a year older than your child.

--Wipe him/herself after pooping? yes, since about when he turned 4, but he could do a better job of it
--Dress and undress him/herself without significant help, including socks and shoes? he CAN, but I do help sometimes if we are in a hurry, or he is really tireed or frustrated
--Choose his/her own clothes? sometimes...if he had his way, he would be wearing a Thomas shirt and Thomas underwear every day!
--Brush his/her own teeth without a second brush by you? yes, but with lots of reminding to not forget to go all around his teeth
--Brush his/her own hair? he tries, but still needs help, especially with the back
--Take his/her own bath, with intermittent supervision? Nope, but that is partly because he takes a bath with his 2 year old sister, and I am not comfortable leaving them alone in there together, plus he still needs help to get himself clean
--Get his/her own snacks out of the fridge? Maybe even breakfast, if it's something like cereal and milk? no, but I have never encouraged this either
--And how independent is the child at bedtime? Can you pretty much say "Go get ready for bed," issue a few reminders along the way, and then you just do the "bonding" parts of the routine (vs. the self-care stuff)?You are kidding, right? Actually, I have to supervise, and he does take off clothes, goes to the bathroom, puts clothes in hamper (with reminder), washes hands, brushes teeth, then gets in the tub. After the bath, he needs some help getting pj's on and combing his hair. So, he actually does most of it, but needs supervision and reminders to stay on task.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you so much, everyone--this has been really helpful.
I think we will concentrate on dressing/undressing, washing herself in the bath, and making it easier for her to get snacks. I guess the idea about bedtime was a pipe dream.
But I do think I am going to try to move towards having her at least be a bit more independent there...she certainly knows the routine by now.

Sometimes I just am not sure what other kids DD's age can do, and I don't want to set my expectations either too low or too high. (For instance, I had always assumed I had to do DD's shoes for her until she went to daycare and immediately learned to do them herself!)
 

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loraxc, i realize you've already had a lot of answers to your questions, but as anything in child development (think walking, talking) or adult development for that matter it varies by the individual. i have 2 girls, 6.5 and almost 4. mostly talking about my almost 4 yr old here...


Does your 4yo...

--Wipe him/herself after pooping?

no, i don't think big sis started doing this until she as 5 and it involved A LOT of coaching. they both potty trained (poop and pee) before they were 2, also, so it's not really a potty training issue.

--Dress and undress him/herself without significant help, including socks and shoes?
socks are hard for her. pants sometimes. shirts are tricky. a lot of shoes are easy enough.

--Choose his/her own clothes?
Almost ALWAYS, but they've both been very into that. dd picked out her own shoes in the shoe store at 18mo!

--Brush his/her own teeth without a second brush by you?
We just went to the dentist in Sept and she recommended mom and dad follow up until age 8!

--Brush his/her own hair?
Never! unless they're play primping. they'd have dreadlocks if i let them and then they'd beg for their "long hair" back.

--Take his/her own bath, with intermittent supervision?
Yes, but with big sis. i don't worry about them getting too soapy, though. A good rinse is fine by me. neither one will wash their own hair for sure.

--Get his/her own snacks out of the fridge? Maybe even breakfast, if it's something like cereal and milk?
Big sis (6.5) is getting pretty adept at snack getting. dd2 (4 in nov) is trying to work on it, but i'm not pushing that since i don't want a whole box of cheddar bunnies dumped out.

--And how independent is the child at bedtime? Can you pretty much say "Go get ready for bed," issue a few reminders along the way, and then you just do the "bonding" parts of the routine (vs. the self-care stuff)?
no, no, no. the 6.5 yr old still needs a whole lot of reminders and urging and cajoling and firm reminders to pee and brush her teeth before getting in bed for a story. they both still cosleep, too!!
 

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My 4yo doesn't do any of that independently, and bedtime still requires being breastfed to sleep. I believe it's him and his personality that require our help with all of this rather than the age that he is. My two older kids were doing all of that independently at 4yo other than needing help with shoes, hair washing, and a check after wiping.
 
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