6 answers

Taking Care of Themself

At what age should a child be able to totally get themself ready? My daughter is 4 1/2 and she just makes the cut-off, so she'll be starting kindergarten in the Fall. I'm trying to get her ready for the big girl school experience. She can get dressed by herself ( although sometimes it's quicker if I do it! ) and brush her teeth by herself, but i still give her a bath. I let her help, but I'm wondering at what point she should be doing it by herself? Also, should she already know how to tie her shoes and/or is it too early to teach her that?
Any other tips on preparing a little one for caring for themself in kindergarten would be appreciated! Thanks!

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Thanks everyone! I talked to my daughter's teacher and she confirmed what y'all have said. The most important things for kindergarten readiness are that she's self sufficient, putting on her own jacket, going potty,getting her own lunch, etc. Most of these things she's already got down and the rest, we can work on all summer. I know I need to step back and let her do more for herself instead of helping for time's sake and we'll both be better off come August.

More Answers

Hey M., I too have a 4 and 1/2 year old but her has a late Sept. birthday. He will have 3-day preschool in the Fall even though he is ready for kindergarten! He can totally dress himself and brush teeth and is very proud of being able to do those things w/o Mommy's help! I haven't started teaching him how to tie his shoes yet but will start soon as he really wants to learn. Sometimes I think we put our kids at a disadvantage when we "do" everything for them for the sake of saving time. I finally realized this and my child really rose to the occasion. I think he could probably bathe himself but def. not wash and rinse his own hair. Last Sunday he actually buttoned his shirt all by himself and was so excited! I think as long as they can feed themselves, put on their own jacket, use scissors LOL, hold a pencil correctly and those types of things, she will do great! Its funny too how when they set their own mind to doing something...they will and fast! Have a great day! Blessings, J.

Fun little tip that helped my young Kindergartener.
I was starting back to work and my husband was in charge of the morning routine. We were all a little nervous! Since she couldn't read very well, I made a poster with cut out pictures of her morning "jobs": eating breakfast,getting dressed, etc. I even put pictures of her vitamins to help her "remind" Dad. It made the morning routine better for everyone. My husband didn't need to spend the morning constantly telling her what to do next, and she felt grownup. She still keeps her chart around for fun. :) (It also helps to do as much as you can the night before. Bath, lay out clothes etc.)
It will be a wonderful year :)

According to my teacher friends, the main thing they need to know to do independently it toilet themselves. Teachers don't wipe hineys!! :-)
Teachers don't blow noses either.
As far as shoes, I think around kindergarten is when they learn. Maybe let her practice this summer a lot.

Think about what a school day entails and just make sure she can confidently perform basic things: Put a coat on and take it off, then hang it up; open and close the lunch box; open all the containers in her lunch, then put it all away properly; use scissors; write letters and numbers; draw pictures...

Gosh, each child is different! My daughter is 6 and will just finish K-garten next month. (She has an October b-day). She loves taking a shower and does well w/ washing herself and her hair, but we still have to turn the water on and adjust the temp- she can turn it off.
She still has not mastered shoe tying, which is partially my fault- we do a ton of slip ons and Velcro! Her older brother learned in first grade. I think you can show her and let her experiment w/ shoe tying, but don't push it.
We choose clothes the night before (it is DISD uniforms, but they still have choices) and lay them out or out them where she can get to them.
when I fold clothes I expect her to put them away. She knows which drawer is for PJ's, which is for t-shirts, etc... I start slowly- my almost 5 y/o just puts away socks and underwear!
My daughter loves to brush her hair, but has trouble reaching the back, so I tell her I miss being able to brush her hair- could I please do it for old times sake!
My daughter also loves to watch "What Not To Wear" and has really listened about how to dress (conservatively) what goes together etc...

Have fun.


My son was 4 when he started taking a bath without me in there with him. I would go in and run his water and then leave. At 5 I started letting him run his own water but I came in there for the first week just to make sure he was getting the water at the right temp. After that I just told him to go take a bath and let him go. I wouldn't get frustrated with her if she doesn't dress fast enough. She is 4. I know it is hard to remember at times their true age. There are a lot of things we expected out of our first born way to soon. I would just make sure you get her up in plenty of time for her to dress her self. When I get my son up for school I feed him and have him brush his teeth and then he has the rest of the time to get dressed. If he finishes then he can watch TV til it is time to leave. As far as her tying her shoes I wouldn't push it. She will learn in Kindergarten or first grade. Hope this helps.

You can try and teach her how to tie her shoes but if she doesn't get it, let it go and try again in a few weeks. Some kids get it early and some later. Don't feel as if every child should be on the same time schedule

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