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When do kids do these things for themselves?

When do kids usually start doing things like bathing themselves, washing their hair, and brushing their teeth? My son is 4 1/2 and he doesn't usually do them. I have had him brush his own teeth a few times and wash his body sometimes, but he always wants me to do it. I asked him the other day if he wanted to try washing his own hair but he didn't want to. He's always been like that though, it was a fight to finally get him to start putting his own clothes on at 4, but my daughter will dress herself and she's only 2. So when do kids usually do these things and when should I stop doing it for him?

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Asked by mybella81 at 7:59 AM on Apr. 20, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 17 (4,022 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • around 6 is when my older one was able to do all those things herself. She still needed some help, but was pretty independent. Now at 10, she doesn't really need my help to do anything. Though she still likes for me to wash her hair now and then.

    My 4 (almost 5 yo) is still pretty dependant on me to wash his hair, brush his teeth properly (though I let him try first and I praise him for doing a good job) He dresses himself now and sometimes will pick out his own outfit. Some days I make him change if it is inappropriate (summer sandals during a sleet storm) but most of the time I let him wear what he picked and he is so proud. I would guess all that just came about in the last couple months though (my son will be 5 in May)

    Answer by VeronicaLee at 8:08 AM on Apr. 20, 2010

  • PS- and washing hair by themselves is hard.

    Answer by VeronicaLee at 8:09 AM on Apr. 20, 2010

  • Ok, thanks! I just want to be sure he isn't way behind because I'm babying him or something.

    Answer by mybella81 at 8:25 AM on Apr. 20, 2010

  • He should be able to wash himself, brush his teeth and dress himself with no issues. My son is almost 3 and does all of those himself (although I still help with his teeth).

    Answer by RutterMama at 8:26 AM on Apr. 20, 2010

  • I have a 3.5 year old. He likes to brush his own teeth, but doesn't do a thorough job so I always make sure I do a good brushing for him at night. He dresses and undresses himself. I wash him in the bathtub, although I think he probably could do it. I just do it because I'm faster. I definitely do his hair. I remember having a hard time getting my hair properly rinsed when I was a kid.

    Answer by EmilyandIsaac at 9:42 AM on Apr. 20, 2010

  • Do it for them until they get the hang of it

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:00 AM on Apr. 20, 2010

  • First there is a difference between when a child CAN do these things for themselves and when they're ready to do them by themselves. ;) My DS would still let us dress him if he felt he could get away with it. He'll be 8 in June. LOL! however, DS could get himself dressed at three with some help on buttons, snaps and zippers. By the time he was 4 he could dress himself fully with some help on buttons and tying his shoes. At 5 he was able to be fully independent even if he didn't always want to be. He's been washing his body and hair on his own since 4. I checked his hair for soap bubbles until he was 6 and we went most nights without issue. My DD has been the same. Teeth is another story. (see next post)

    Answer by ldmrmom at 11:41 AM on Apr. 20, 2010

  • Our dentist says kids should have help with teeth until they are about 7. I disagree some. DD is 5 and brushes very well. DS isn't as thorough still. However, he was MUCH better before his baby teeth started falling out. He started brushing his teeth a little too gingerly as his little teeth were getting wiggly. It hurt to brush them firmly enough to get them well cleaned. We still have to work with him a bit to make sure he's getting all the junk off well.

    Honestly, it's nice when I can be freed up do everything else because my kids are getting themselves dressed. On the other hand, however, they get 'big' so fast. Looking at my son today, who is now only a foot shorter than me and such a mature fellow, I miss my little guy. I love this new big kid - but I miss the little one too. I'm glad we humored him a bit longer than some might have. It went too fast and we did savor every second we had.

    Answer by ldmrmom at 11:46 AM on Apr. 20, 2010

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