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4yoDS and washing himself... strategies!

(6 Posts)
NumptyMum Wed 12-Oct-11 23:12:02

Getting DS up, washed and dressed has a tendency to develop into a battleground. Same goes for reverse at the end of the day. He's actually very able to deal with pyjamas, and generally pretty good at getting dressed if he wants to (bar dealing with buttons, although sometimes he'll protest about not being able to get jumpers on/off). Washing is the really difficult bit! I guess if he just had a bath all the time it would be easy, as he likes baths; but we can't do that morning and night so we get him to wash at the sink using a flannel. Sometimes he'll just drift into a dream and splash about with the water. Often he'll ask to get step-by-step instructions on what to do (eg give the flannel a squash and a squeeze, put it on your hand, rub it against your face - no, RUB it against your face, flapping it nearby won't work... etc etc). He can sometimes get very upset if we just say to wash by saying 'but I don't know what to wash, which bit do I start with?' Or he'll start getting into tears about some part of the whole process.

Him being our firstborn, I don't know what to expect - am I alone or is this common? How do I get him to enjoy washing - or at the least, do a decent job without me standing over him? We've got a 'clothes troll' who hides his clothes for afterwards in odd places, which makes him look forward to getting dressed, and I've tried having a race to get washed/dressed but then it would mean one of us (ie me) is standing there freezing while I let him 'win'! I know it may just take time - he surely won't still be like this when he's 5 or 6, will he? - but a quicker/better routine in the morning would really help...

Any ideas?!

sommewhereelse Thu 13-Oct-11 06:27:39

I think you're expecting too much of a 4 yr old to do a decent job alone and enjoy it!
I still wash DD's body most of the time and she's 6. I figure she'll do it herself when she's ready. She is quite happy to do her face. DS is 8 and washes himself but he doesn't always come out 100% clean afterwards.

If he's getting upset and saying he doesn't know what to do, I'd see this as a sign that he's not ready and just do it for him then try again in a few months.

I remember with fondness my Mum washing me when I was 7/8 ish but I'm sure she stopped before I was 10.

BleughCowWonders Thu 13-Oct-11 06:53:06

Blimey a lot to expect from such a little one grin.

I think it'll be your / dh's job to apply flannel to grubby bits for a long time yet.

(wait til you encounter a group of boys at cub camp who can just about brush their teeth )

If your ds can dress/ undress and deal with the loo, he'll be fine at school. Anything more could be left for a while.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 13-Oct-11 07:32:44

A 4yo will need help. I still help my 11yo with tricky things like 'drying backs of legs with a towel' LOL. (Although he's absolutely fine with doing it when away with school/scouts, funnily enough) You could try showers in the morning. Nice and quick and everything gets wet all at once.

An0therName Thu 13-Oct-11 10:04:44

now I may be grubby but my 5 yo has a bath everynight -and has to be told what to wash (the odd time a shower) and don't have a wash at all in the morning, but I think at 4 yo I would be helping him out with washing when ever you do it

NumptyMum Thu 13-Oct-11 15:03:19

OK, thanks for all the replies. We do help him out, but it's good to hear that perhaps he's also too young for us to expect him to cope with washing himself. I think it's because we're not sure at what point to move things forward - otherwise he'd still be drinking out of a sippy cup if he had his way!

Will show this to DH and suggest we expect a bit less of DS.

Thanks again!

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