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Is it unreasonable to ask a 4 year old to do these things?

(36 Posts)
SenoritaViva Wed 05-Oct-11 09:38:38

DD is PFB so I've the time to assist her more than if I was running around after 3 children. Trying to 'train' her to be more independent before the next arrives at the end of the year. So would you expect a 4 year old to do these things?

1) Get dressed by themselves (with support where needed...the odd tug etc.) : I put her uniform out and ready for her the night before
2) Wipe their own bum (think I'm a control freak and like her bum to be properly wiped...her arms are just so short she can't actually really reach)
3) Make her own bed
4) How much tidying of their room/toys do you expect and how much intervention from you
5) Wash face/brush teeth
6) How much does your DC choose their own clothes on non school days (aaah, such a control freak on this. Don't want to relinquish but I do give her a choice. Is that OK?!)

If any of these are 'no, not yet' when do you think they are ready? Also, have I missed anything (chores etc.) that she could be helping with? I want to spend more quality time with her and not helicopter parent (DD is actually quite independent and not clingy I just think the two of us have got quite used to do lots of the mundane together).

PeggyCarter Wed 05-Oct-11 09:43:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

aldiwhore Wed 05-Oct-11 09:43:41

I think all the above are fine to start doing. These things are a process, so YANBU to get them off to a good strong start.

I will say though, as far as choosing their own clothes goes, that if you're NOT going anyway special, let her choose... some of the outfit combos will be awful, but I actually think there's not much cuter than a child who's wearing exactly what they want.

Bum wiping is tricky, my nearly four years old tries and often succeeds, but I do check, sometimes its messier than others. I use those awful flushable wipes (I don't flush them, they go in a nappy sack and then are binned).

The whole list should be 'checked off' by you, especially the teeth brushing element, but other than that, its a good routine.

familyfun Wed 05-Oct-11 09:48:00

dd1 is 4.3 and i have a 10 month old.
she can get dressed including buttons,zips etc, occasionally needs help with a top button. she gets out of uniform after school and changed into play clothes that i put out ready.
she wipes own bum, flushes and washes her hands.
she doesnt mke her bed but removes toys/books and pulls cover over so an attempt.
she puts books back in bookcase when asked and puts toys in cupboard when asked.
i wash her and supervise teeth brushing. she baths herself with a little help and gets out and drys herself.
she can wear what she wants after school and weekends but iadvise trousers if its cold and we are playing out etc.
she takes plates/cups to sink.
she dusts with me.
she helps me garden.
she fetches things for dd2 and now gets her a toy without being asked.

My DS1 is 3.2, and I am starting to get him a bit more independent ready for school.

He washes his own face, and does some teeth brushing although we brush for him also.

He takes his own plates, bowls and cups back to the kitchen after meals.

He gets himself undressed, and can put on his own pants but struggles still with other clothes - we are working on it!

He hasn't been potty trained very long, but does try to wipe his own bum although I always finish it for him.

Oh and he tidies up his own toys with a bit of help, puts his books back on the shelf etc.

sparkle12mar08 Wed 05-Oct-11 09:49:50

Ny five yo would have had a go at all of that aged four, yes and in fact my three yo is currently doing it all too. I always still supervise teeth brushing and actually do give a once over after they've tried, and the dentist said you should do that untill they're 7. As for choosing their clothes for them - nope, can't be bothered, bigger fish to fry. Rooms - both will make a good attempt at putting things back where they belong, yes it's not perfect but they do try. However I will say that both need lots of reminding and asking, they rarely do these things without being prompted at least once. Bums - I often have to double check bums, but both can and do go through the actions of doing it for themselves.

Doing the mundane together is good, it's part of living as a family and helping each other out. I ask that everyone brings their own plate and cutlery from the table at meal times and put them in the kitchen and both boys will actually fight over the privilege of laying the table! Both love 'helping' with the hoover, and whilst it's not perfect I do try to let them help whenever they ask to because encouraging that contribution to family life is very important to me.

pozzled Wed 05-Oct-11 09:51:52

My DD is 3.2

1) She gets dressed by herself, maybe a little help if we're running late.
2) She always wipes own bum (but sometimes needs reminding)
3) No, she doesn't make her own bed, but I've never been fussed about making beds- doesn't bother me if the duvet looks crumpled.
4) She has to tidy her toys away at the end of the day, and put dirty clothes etc in the right place, but generally needs me to help wuth this.
5) She washes her own face. Teeth she starts off but I do a good brush round afterwards, to make sure it's done properly.
6) She has complete control over what she wears as long as it's appropriate to weather and activity. I just say "Go and get dressed" and she does. Personally I value independence over fashion sense! grin

So I do think you could be giving her a bit more independence from the sound of it.

Shutupanddrive Wed 05-Oct-11 09:55:03

Yes I think they all sound reasonable. Maybe just check bum is done properly though! I use the squirty hand wash for dc's, it's easier than soap I think and is antibacterial.

Catslikehats Wed 05-Oct-11 09:56:47

Yes a 4 year old should be able to do all those things, except the teeth brushing which my dentist told me ought to be supervised and assisted until children are 6/7 as they are just not capable of doing a thorough enough job until then.

If she is at school then getting dressed and bum wiping will be insisted upon there.

BonnyBanks Wed 05-Oct-11 09:57:28

I have two not quite four year olds. They can:

1) get dressed by themselves (from a pile of laid out clothes), might need the odd bit of help with buttons etc.
2)Mostly wipe themselves after a poo (I still tend to do a final 'checking' wipe followed by lots of praise)
3)Do not expect them to make their beds. IMO they are still too small physically to manage it.
4) I expect them to help me with tidying. TBH my little boy would happily do it on his own but my wee girl needs lots of direction.
5)They put the toothpaste on themselves and start their teeth but I always finish them (was advised by dentist that kids aren't really up to sole teeth brushing until about 7) They can wash their own faces.
6)They do get to choose their own clothes with guidance e.g. We're going to a social occassion or church we pick something smart. Also I wouldn't let them pick something that didn't coordinate at all (but this is done through a discusdion of colours etc rather than dictatorially iyswim.)

Mine also help me get cereal, milk, butter etc out in the morning and lay the table at other times. They are expected to put coats, shoes and bags in the correct places when they come home. They might offer to help dust or put away shopping but I don't ask too much else, they are still young

JjandtheBeanlovesUnicorns Wed 05-Oct-11 10:00:07

Ds is 4.2. Also my PFB

He dresses himself everyday. And changes for bed also, dirty clothes put in the laundry. (Actually 2.10 dd does this too)

Making own bed they struggle with, they're only little and a single beds massive to them so I get them to fluff pillo and put teddies etc neatly round it, ds can now flap a duvet so its almost presentable.

Toilet- he can try and clean himself up but not fully just yet. I leave wet wipes in the loo, that helps him.

Can wash himself and hair (as can 2yo dd) brush teeth themselves then I give a once over.

Tidying up- they make the mess they clean it, he's helped put toys up from 8mo roughly, although then it was one in three out. He got the idea lol

I wouldn't class it as a chore (as he LOVES doing it) buttering bread/crackers at lunch, cutting salad. And when he gets in from school for example I was cooking a bolognese he sits up on the side telling me about his day and chops courgettes/mushrooms etc while I fry off onions and mince.

And the both LOVE polishing stuff!

JjandtheBeanlovesUnicorns Wed 05-Oct-11 10:01:00

They also help carry shopping in from the car and load the freezer/veg cupboard.

zdcgbjm Wed 05-Oct-11 10:01:03

I have a 4yo PMC (Precious Middle Child wink).

1) He can get dressed by himself but is going through a phase of asking me to do it for him which I think is related to the arrival of his new baby brother so I'm going with it for now. Just lots of praise when he does do it himself. He struggles most with socks.

2) He wipes with variable success, I check. He seems to struggle with reaching too.

3) He doesn't make his bed, but then to be fair I don't make mine either, I think it airs better with the covers off anyway (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).

4) He will tidy when asked to and he's pretty good at it. Much, much better than his big sister. I think that's more of a personality thing than an age thing.

5) He mostly washes face and brushes teeth himself but I sometimes do it for him.

6) He chooses his own non-school clothes. He can't go far wrong it's all jeans and t-shirts. DD (8) chooses her own too and sometimes I have to tell her to change (when it's horrific), I explain why, I think of it as part of the learning process. I try not to interfere as long as it isn't horrific though. She needs to develop her own taste.

BonnyBanks Wed 05-Oct-11 10:02:21

Nice to see everyone's dentists are giving the same advice!

JjandtheBeanlovesUnicorns Wed 05-Oct-11 10:03:13

Whoops forgot, ds chooses his own clothes as its easy. Pants socks top and bottoms, its easy to make a half decent outfit. Dd is more of a faff, so I let her choose say her top/dress and I get the bottoms/tights and skirt. I'm all for independance but I can't let her wear a lemon t-shirt, pink skirt and red tights smile

TattyDevine Wed 05-Oct-11 10:05:44

My son has just turned 4 recently, he's not at school yet but goes to preschool 3 days a week.

He can get dressed completely by himself (occasionally you'll notice a label sticking out or a top where the front and back are similar is on the wrong way round but no biggie) however the problem is "motivation"...I must have asked him about 10 times last night to put his PJ's on. So if I "help" him its really to encourage things along a bit.

Re wiping his bum - he's not at school yet, as such, and when we are home I do it for him with a wet flushable if he lets me, so he's not Mr Skid. That said, he can do it, with varied results, and I'll make sure he gets a bit better before he starts school in a year's time. But I'm sure he must break one off have a poo at preschool sometimes and he doesn't come home in a huge mess so he's sorta nearly there grin

Making beds. Hmm. He can do it, once again its a motivation thing.

Tidying - absolutely fecking useless, once again its a motivation thing, I don't do it for him though, though I will "help" him if he's putting in a fair effort. However we have discovered that my nearly 2 year old daughter loves to tidy toys away and is very good at it so we exploit encourage that. Hey, she's closer to the ground...

Wash face/brush teeth he is very good at and actually reminds me if I forget to wave a toothbrush at him in the morning and he does it well himself though I'll sometimes have a stab at the back molars but that's all good. He doesn't quite get the "point" of washing his face but will happily rub a flannel round his face. And then try and do me. Grr.

Choosing clothes - he can put a reasonable outfit together, everything mixes and matches and he knows where its kept, so in theory yes I could say "go upstairs and choose some clothes, get dressed, make your bed, wash your face, brush your teeth please" and he could do it in terms of skill but if I went up to see how he was getting on he would probably in fact be wrestling with the cat under my bed or giving his Lighting McQueen car a bath or going through my drawer to see if he can find some stickers hmm

You get the idea.

ShowOfHands Wed 05-Oct-11 10:11:11

DD is 4 and in reception. She is horribly independent and has been for far too long. She gets herself up, washed, teeth brushed, dressed, makes her own breakfast, pours her own drink, brushes her hair etc. I only need to do her hair if it's a French plait or similar she's after and make sure she has everything she needs in her book bag.

DD makes her own packed lunch, helps to cook/dust/clean/tidy. She's responsible for her own room, including making her bed, dusting, putting washing away etc.

I suppose it helps if you have a child who is so stubbornly independent that she won't let anybody do anything for her.

NorksAreMessy Wed 05-Oct-11 10:11:50

I adored DDs clothes combinations when she was a tiddler.
The best one was a stripy swimming costume with 'shots' legs, wellies, a tutu and sunglasses.
We went to Morrisons.

She now dresses beautifully, (17) but I do miss the fun of orange trousers, purple top and green cardy

DD is 4 and pfb as well. She can get dressed fine, with odd top button assistance, and put her dirty clothes in the laundry basket. All her clothes are accessible so she chooses her own outfits each day according to the weather (including school uniform which is all kept together). She washes her face and hands pretty well and has just learned to wash her own hair in the bath. She's a reluctant tooth brusher so I help her with that. I've not wiped her bottom since she was in nappies. She struggles to make her own bed as it's a top bunk but it pretty good at tidying as long as I break it down into chunks for her - put all the train set in the train set box, make a pile of those books.

Chores-wise, she loads and unloads the washing machine and dryer, sorts laundry and empties small upstairs bins. She sets the tables ready for dinner, is pretty good with the hoover and carpet sweeper, and begs to be allowed to wash up (although it's a messy affair). She has her own cleaning spray (water and lemon/vinegar) and goes around 'cleaning' doors and fireplaces etc. She likes pegging out washing and gardening/digging/watering the plants. She scrubs and peels most of our vegetables and is a pretty good cook given the right task (she likes chopping and whisking). She also likes polishing shoes (another messy affair) and puts her own clean clothes away in her bedroom.

bananamam Wed 05-Oct-11 10:17:24

Of course you are not being unreasonable.. DS did all this at 2 and DD started getting fully dressed before 2. They both tidy their rooms(they are 2&4), get dressed, put all dirty dishes in dishwasher, set the table, empty and load the washing machine, clean themselves, etc. I still brush their teeth after they have for obvious reasons.

I'd find it odd to be wiping my 4 year olds bum to be honest. He gets a bath every day so it gets cleaned "properly" then.

DD is 2.3 and has been toilet trained for 6 months. I still occasionally wipe hers.

tinkbig Wed 05-Oct-11 10:20:52

i would say at age 4

making bed - no
tidying room - no
dressing - yes mostly
wiping - no

bananamam Wed 05-Oct-11 10:22:02

showofhands your DD sounds JUST like mine. She has always been super independent. She refused to wear nappies from around 18 months, so that was the start of it!! She was talking fluently at 20 months in full sentences so could communicat on the same level as us all and made it known she did not need help!

SenoritaViva Wed 05-Oct-11 10:28:12

Thanks everyone.

DD do a lot of these things (bum wiping aside) but gets grumpy if I'm busy doing other things and not actually there. I think this is going to become more problematic once the baby comes - in other words the things she can do she will suddenly 'need me' for so I wanted to hear what everyone else expected of their children - you know the backing down because you think 'poor child, she's right, I am utterly mean' syndrome.

ShowOfHands Wed 05-Oct-11 10:29:38

bananamam, dd is exactly the same! Whipped off her nappy at 17 months and declared she wouldn't wear one ever again. She was talking well at a year and by 18 months was fluent and used her powers to assert her independence. I am redundant apparently.

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