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Where do you draw the line?

Like most 3yo, mine MUST do everything by himself. And if he can't, he will through a fit. Typical, I'm sure.

I have no problem letting him dress himself, buckle his car-seat, etc.

But with him being a boy, and ruff, I don't like to let him work the DVD player (he does at grandmas) or put toothpaste on his toothbrush. (huge mess)

I was just wondering what kind of stuff the rest of you do and don't let your preschooler do.

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Asked by D_mom05 at 2:04 PM on Nov. 21, 2008 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (10)
  • I just let him try first then do it for them the proper way. Messes can always be cleaned up, and if they want to assurt their independance I let them clean up the mess they make too.
    Shoes were the biggest problem they wanted to "tie" them but ended up with a huge knot that took forever to get untangled. So I went and got boots and velcro shoes. This way they could do it themselves and I didnt have to go through the knot mess.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:10 PM on Nov. 21, 2008

  • Children learn by doing. Yes, there will be plenty of messes, but they can always get cleaned. Have your little guy help to clean up those messes and then try to teach him by example. Show him how you do it , step by step. He will get it. As for things like the DVD player, give him a "job" to do when putting in a DVD- you can put in the DVD and he (with you showing how) can push the play button.


    Answer by klyn28 at 2:41 PM on Nov. 21, 2008

  • About the only thing I don't let my son do is pour drinks! I started letting him give the dog his water (I fill up a pitcher and let him pour it in the bowl) so maybe he can kind of practice, but after getting a whole bottle of juice on my counters and floor, I'm a little afraid! lol

    Answer by mom2XandZ at 3:12 PM on Nov. 21, 2008

  • If it is a safety issue then I would draw the line. Other wise any mess can be cleaned up. Your son is learning how to be independent and how awsome is that!? So encourage him, give him a smile, wait until he is out of the room, and wipe up the toothpaste. Try to modify things that he can do that he expresses an interest in. If he wants to fix his own drink - have containers on hand that are light weight and easier to poor on a shelf in the refridgerator that he can reach and plastic cups near by. Oh, and part of being independent is learning that we all make mistakes and we need to clean up our messes. So encourage him to squirt his own toothpaste but teach how to clean up the mess from the leftovers. Just keep the paper towels handy near the sink.

    Answer by frogdawg at 3:23 PM on Nov. 21, 2008

  • I agree with frogdawg. I let my 3yr old get his own toothpaste (with my supervision of course) . I also let him use the bathroom on his own at home, he feeds the pet rabbit we have, he's able to clean up his own toys. I help him with socks and shoes sometimes and zippers and buttons. I still cut up his food for him if it's something that's not easily cut with a kid safe plastic knife. He gets his own water from the refrigerator's built in water thingy. I try to encourage him to be more independent except if it's safety.

    Answer by lilmomma4 at 7:29 PM on Nov. 21, 2008

  • I always play the 'first I do it, then you do it' game...that way she can see the proper way to do it first and if it's something important, it gets done. Like right now she is wanting to brush her own teeth but at 2 1/2 she's to young to do a thorough job. So, I say 'first I do it, then you do it'...she says 'ok' and I brush her teeth properly then give her the toothbrush when I'm done and she brushes them herself for a little while. She gets the practice, I make sure her teeth are really clean. She's getting good at it, too! LOL!

    Answer by mizkaye at 8:22 PM on Nov. 21, 2008

  • I let my daughter( she's 3 in a couple weeks) do basically anything that's not dangerous, as long as I'm supervising and she's not getting too frustrated. Then I just help her and tell her she can try again next time.

    Answer by MommyLi288 at 9:58 PM on Nov. 21, 2008

  • I let my kids be as independent as they can personally handle. A few caveats though. If its expensive or potentially dangerous, I have higher expectations of mastery or its either off-limits or you must accept help. (DVDs, expensive; toothpaste, expensive and potentially dangerous). I pose things as choices (implies control to a staunchly independent kid and is a magic salve ) - either let me help you or you don't get to do it. If you make the mess, you clean it up. Fits are not allowed to be inflicted on the rest of the household. If you must, then you may do so in your room. I readily adapt things to allow them to "do it my ownself" (my personal mantra as a child). Also, I use the, "Mommy gets a turn" ploy on things theat need a higher level of thoroughness (eg, toothbrushing, bathing).

    Answer by pullinkytink at 7:12 AM on Nov. 22, 2008

  • If my child is showing me that they are not doing something right i go correct them, show them how to do it, then let them.

    Answer by sgunn at 2:31 PM on Nov. 22, 2008

  • I pretty much let my dd do whatever she shows interest in. She likes to put her clothes on, socks on, shoes, also she loves to help me cook(obviously I wont let her near the oven but mostly she likes to stir and pour). If she shows interest in something that she is eventually going to have to do herself(toothpaste, brush hair, all that good stuff) I let her try and when she is done she lets me help her. its just an independence thing.

    Answer by SuperMommy0212 at 8:27 PM on Nov. 22, 2008

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