What should a 9 and 6 year old be able to do for themselves?

(21 Posts)

I think, rather I know, I do far too much for my eldest 2 boys aged 9 and 6. I want to start giving them more responsibility but not sure what would be reasonable to expect them to do for themselves. Currently I choose and lay out their clothes each morning. Normally end up dressing 6 year old blush. I make all their drinks meals and snacks. I supervise their baths, wash their hair,help them get dry, comb etc. Generally tidy up after them in every situation. Neither of them do anything around the house e.g set table, make beds, empty dishwasher etc on a regular basis. I want to start changing things but so used to doing everything for them I'm not sure where to start?

NorbertDentressangle Fri 13-Mar-09 19:44:08

In theory my 9yo DD could do everything for herself that doesn't involve sharp knives or very hot things (eg. kettle, cooker) however life is too short to wait for her to do anything sometimes so I do find myself intervening when maybe I shouldn't.

I also find myself "helping" sometimes as, if I don't, things aren't done properly eg bath/shower time if shes washing her hair otherwise she doesn't get the shampoo out

Will come back to this later (curry has arrived!!)

cory Fri 13-Mar-09 19:50:49

Mine (8 and 12) are far behind what I would like them to be, due to disability issues: ds in particular has difficulties using his wrists and dd is often confined to bed.

Even so, ds (8) can fix his own breakfast, make toast etc. Pours himself drinks, though because of his dodgy wrists I tend to hover if it's a hot drink. Has showers and washes and combs his hair unsupervised. I do lay out his clothers in the morning but that's only to be fair, because I do it for his disabled sister who has anxiety attacks in the mornings. Walks home from school on his own. Takes responsibility for own homework.

Because their health is erratic I haven't been able to enforce regular chores, but I do sometimes grab someone who seems to be looking all right and ask them to lay the table etc. They do fix me some sort of meal on Mother's Day, but of the fish fingers and beans variety, not haute cuisine.

seeker Fri 13-Mar-09 19:54:47

I have a 8 year old. he chooses and puts on his clothes, tidies his room, makes his bed, gets himself, and anyone else who wants cold drinks, snacks and sandwiches, sets and clears the table, peels potatoes and carrots, takes out rubbish, puts out bins, feeds the cat, dusts, cleans windows, mops floors, Helps with shopping in the supermarket, helps to unpack it. Writes own thank you letters. Showers and washes hair witha bit of help (can't get the temperature right with mixer tap yet and can't rinse hair thoroughly) Cleans car.

Not all the time, obviously, but he can and does do all these things. But I am very old and very old fashioned and have very hight expectations of my family as a "community" where we all share work and fun. Ignore me!

LadyPinkofPinkerton Fri 13-Mar-09 20:07:13

DTo you use some of your examples. S1(5) gets his own clothes out and dresses himself. He also washes his own hair and sets the table if I ask him too. He can make his bed but needs asking to do this.

He also puts his dirty clothes in the laundry basket and puts clean clothes away when ironed.

largeginandtonic Fri 13-Mar-09 20:20:26

The twins (10) can do pretty much all household chores. They do everything for themselves, washing, dressing, snacks, tea, tidying. They can also bath and dress the baby and change nappies.

DD is pretty good too, she is 8. Much the same as the twins but she has Turners syndrome so has other issues to contend with.

ds3 is 6 and he does everything for himself and can get breakfast and drinks for his younger brothers.

ds4 is 4 and dresses and washes himself.

ds5 is hopeless but is only 21months so will let him off wink DD2 (8 weeks) has it all to come grin

Nabster Fri 13-Mar-09 20:26:45

I was thinking about this this morning when I saw the state of my son's room. He will be 8 next week and his room is a mess. He loves science things and most of his room is full of scientific things.

DS1 will be 8 next week, he baths and dries himself but we wash his hair and do his teeth. He chooses his own clothes and dresses himself. He gives out the cutlery and gets water for him and his siblings. He doesn't really do any housework jobs other than a bit of tidying and he occasionally hoovers.

DD is 5.7. She does the same as her brother except for getting water and hoovering.

DS2 is 3.9. He loads and unloads the washer and drier when asked. And comes running to empty the diswasher. He is better at putting his clothes in the wash basket than his older brother and helps to bring the shopping in. He is at the age where it is still fun though ime.

Yes my 2 year old is at the stage where he is desperate to help and do everything for himself, shame is doesn't last! I think I will start with their personal care first and then move on to helping around the house more. I am hoping they will surprise me and take to doing things themselves easily but i doubt it somehow. I want them to be able to go upstairs and get changed with out me hovering over them and helping them. I must let go and leave them to it no matter how long it takes them to sort themselves out.

Blarbie Fri 13-Mar-09 21:19:24

"I make all their drinks meals and snacks. I supervise their baths, wash their hair,help them get dry, comb etc. Generally tidy up after them in every situation. Neither of them do anything around the house e.g set table, make beds, empty dishwasher etc on a regular basis. I want to start changing things but so used to doing everything for them I'm not sure where to start?"

All of the above are reasonable to get them to do themselves or help with as I think you must know. How to start when you've been doing it all?
First, trust your kids!! I bet they'd love to and would be well able to make their sandwiches/put out cereal etc.
Next get them to do the easy stuff first and present it as a treat or challenge e.g. I wonder which of you can make your bed the fastest? You can make a big deal about quality control, points deducted etc, games are fun so make things a game and they'll get done - after a while they'll get in the habit so you only have to do spot checks every now and again to keep the game fun. I'm not a big fan of rewards or sticker charts as I think the job done well is enough of a reward, but for some people they work.
Remember you are doing them a favour in teaching them how to do these everyday tasks. I used to love helping my Mum and I'm pretty sure she taught us most of the basic household skills before we went to school.
Funny little things like telling the 9 year old he is "allowed" to fill and empty the dishwasher in turns with you and Dad whereas the 6 year old has to prove himself in some other way first will make the 9 year old feel proud and grown up and also make the 6 year old beg to be allowed to do it (you then make up some little dishwasher test before giving him the OK - or saying he's allowed to empty but not fill)

seeker Sat 14-Mar-09 06:08:44

Children can do so much more than we give them credit for. They almost invariably rise to our expectations!

purepurple Sat 14-Mar-09 06:59:02

seeker, you are so right!
having high expectations of children is key to them becoming independent.
BTW how many times have we not asked DH/DP to do something because we know they will be useless? Blame his mother for doing everything for him!!

roisin Sat 14-Mar-09 09:11:41

Popperdoodles in terms of where to start, I find the key is to establish a time when 'chores' are done. For us this was after tea and before The Simpsons!

Also each time you instruct them in a new chore you need to explain it slowly and carefully, model it for them, then the second time supervise them very closely, and so on. At first it will take longer for them to do it than it would for you, and they won't do it as well. You need to stick with it though!

In terms of general responsibilities, I would just introduce them gradually. Make it clear what your expectations are.

My boys are 9 and 11 now. They don't iron (despite my encouragement they still find it really hard) and they can't yet cook a full meal unsupervised. But apart from that I can't think of any chore in the house that they aren't able to complete, and they do!

nailpolish Sat 14-Mar-09 09:19:36

my dds are 6 and 4
i let them choose what they want to wear and dress themselves
i let them bursh their own hair but not their teeth
sometimes they dont put on clothes i would have chosen ro their hair is stilla birds nest. but who cares?! its their clothes and their hair so if they are happy then that is what matters. i would love to choose their clothes and do their hair to they way i want but i cant - they need to be independent
it gives childrne pride and confidence

laying the table is a good chore to do
as is tidying their rooms
dusting is another one
helping decide on the menu planning
hanging out the washing
getting stuff ready for school the next day

even better if they can help each other - lioke bathing together and washing each otheres hair grin

willowthewispa Sat 14-Mar-09 09:41:57

They should be able to pick their own clothes and dress themselves, and brush their own hair and teeth (though I'd probably supervise the 6yo's teeth).
Tidy up after themselves and keep their rooms tidy.
Get their own drinks and breakfast cereal if everything is within reach.
Lay the table and clear the table, putting things in the dishwasher.
Make their own beds
Put dirty laundry in the basket and clean clothes away
Get their things ready for school
Clean up after themselves if they spill a drink/drop something - unless involving broken glass.

Thank you everyone. I think I do need to let go and trust them to do things. We did have a few moans when I asked them to find their own clothes this morning but it was not too painful. Will keep going.

Crunchie Sat 14-Mar-09 12:31:17

I agree with all the above posts my 2 are 8 (last week) and 10 (next week) and the older oe can cook a simple meal - when she wants, inc chopping veg, using cooker etc (supervised) She can make tea. The younger one could make her own packed lunch aged 6. They both get tehmselves up, dressed, breakfasted and ready for school in teh morning. They can clean the house if needs be (not that they WANT TO) We agree they do one room of their choice a week, last week the older one did teh bathroom inc cleaning the loo.

I do as little as possible for my kids I suppose, but I do see how easy it would be to do everything for children if you ave the time. I leave for work as they are getting up in the morning, so dh oversees, and he stays in bed until 20 mins before school!!

Aparently this morning dd2 had a headache so dd1 got her a paracetamol and she washed it down with a frube!! I am not sure that is so healthy I suggested they ask me first!!

Ds is 5.5yrs and he dresses himself and chooses his own clothes[ as do both dds who are 2+3]
Ds will get himself a drink or snack using a step stool. This morning he also got both the DDs a drink of milk
I run the bath for him and wash his hair but he washes himself[while I sit in our bedroom] and will shout to let me know he is getting out. I go into the bathroom but he gets himself out and dried etc.
All the trio set the table together. they also have to take their own plate when finished and put it on the side. DS and DD1 both help with the dishwasher. Ds does cutelry and DD1 will do childrens plates and cups while I do the glass stuff.
Ds is also responsible for making sure the dogs water bowl is topped up and they all have to helpd with tidying up and will help load washing machine and dryer.

QueenEagle Sat 14-Mar-09 12:41:28

ds4 4 will lay the table and bring dishes out to the kitchen after dinner. Puts his dirty laundry in the basket with a gentle reminder. Brushes own teeth then I finish off for him. Puts shoes on wrong feet still so I put them the right way round.

ds3 6 can get his own breakfast cereal and can pour milk on pretty reliably. He has Aspergers and sometimes I have to let him do it his way. He can spread butter and jam to make a sandwich. Can also brush his own teeth. Tidies his room very well (sometimes Aspergers is great for things like getting the right toys in the right boxes wink). Can get dressed by self and do velcro shoes but have to watch him otherwise he will sometimes put 5 t-shirts on at once.

My older 3 kids were making tea at around 7, at 9 they were able to change their bed linen, polish their bedrooms and hoover and mop floor, wash and dry up and load/unload the dishwahser. All my older 3 can make a full dinner and take turns each week doing a family meal each. ds2 13 made a lovely lasagne a la Jamie Oliver's recipe the other night. ds 1 15 and dd 17 look after the 2 little ones, bathe them and put them to bed, get them up and ready for school on occasions when I am working.

Gorionine Sat 14-Mar-09 12:45:35

OMG, reading that I do far too much for my DCs! There will be a bit of a change in the Gorionine houshold!!

I wonder if the more you have the more likely you are to give them shores etc??

ds can also make a sandwich and toast. He would do cereal but it is stored on top of a tall cupboard

Blarbie Sun 15-Mar-09 09:40:03

Oh, I'm guessing you have younger children too. Get them started early! Most children naturally try to do things themselves so actively encourage it so it becomes second nature. My 22 month old loves fetching things and tries to do everything I do with her dolls, yesterday she even managed to undress from pyjamas down to her vest and nappy. She has been "helping" me wash up since she could stand at the sink on a chair. I remember doing this with my Mum and still love watching the water come through the holes in the steamer as I did when I was little -small things amuse small minds I guess! I also remember carrying very full cups of tea to my Dad when I was 5 and taking great pride in not spilling one single drop.

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