Reasonable Expectations for a Six-year-old

Updated on January 17, 2013
A.L. asks from Austin, TX
34 answers

Hello, ladies!

It seems sometimes that my oldest child (she is six) gets the brunt of my parenting mistakes. She's the "test" child, I guess. I recently discovered that she has a habit of making people do things for her that she can do herself, by convincing them she doesn't know how. This is why I'm not sure if the things I'm asking her to do really are too hard, or if she's following an old pattern. If I knew she was truly having a hard time, and not just wanting to keep me doing things for her, I'd back off.

Here is what I am wanting to see her do:
Wash her hair. (I have told her that I will help IF SHE NEEDS IT, but if she is not at least making an effort by her 7th birthday (April), then I am taking her for a haircut, since the length is obviously making it too hard for her. Unreasonable request? It's to her shoulder blades now, at her request.)

Put toothpaste on her toothbrush. (I AM expecting a few messes as part of this learning process.)

Learn how to snap or button a pair of pants. (It was hard to find elastic-waist pants for this school year, and I'm afraid it will be nearly impossible after the next growth spurt. Already, she has outgrown a pair of pants that she promised me she would learn to button, but grew out of without ever learning or wearing to school.) And button her own shirts. Currently, she'll do one button and tell me "it's too hard" to do the rest. I admit, I often do it for her, in the interest of being on time for school.

And some simple daily chores: Put her dirty clothes in the hamper. Clean up her place after mealtimes (ie, dishes in the sink; disposeables in the trash). When she gets home from school, bring her lunchbox and water bottle all the way into the kitchen instead of dumping them with her backpack. (There are occasional chores, too - like helping with laundry or unloading the dishwasher, but these are the daily ones I'm pushing right now.)

To me, these things seem like fairly simple expectations. But again, this is the oldest, so this is new territory. What really is reasonable at this age? Should I back off on these things, or is this just her old pattern of getting people to do for her? I don't want to push things that really are too hard, but I do want her to have SOME responsibility for her own well-being.

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So What Happened?

Thank you!

I already knew I was the meanest mommy in the world, but I just wanted to make sure I wasn't mean AND unreasonable. For the pants thing - we HAVE been late to school for that one - I refuse to let her wear a pair of pants that she won't even try to put on by herself, and made her change (she is content to leave them unbuttoned, and just untuck her shirt...). I have also let her try on (super cute!) clothes, but when she refused to even ATTEMPT the snap, made her change and carry the clothes back to the rack and put them away before leaving the store.

She does have a few tasks that she does well: please don't think I don't give her ANY chores now.

But this morning, I told her (NOT for the first time) that I wasn't going to go looking for her lunchbox, and if she didn't bring it to the kitchen, she would have to buy her lunch at school (she has a little bit of money on her school account). She burst into tears - which is what made me think that maybe I was crazy. ( I DO remind her - I pick her up from school, and try to remind her every day as she's getting out of the car.) I guess the tears could be from anything - still tired; tired of being fussed at AGAIN; the threat of cafeteria food...) I had to ask, though, in case I really HAD gone too far. But, thanks for reassuring me. I'll stick with it. She's a creature of habit, so I guess we just have to create a new habit.

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answers from New York on

The first child should be seasoned. And then tossed so says the late and funny Irma Bombeck.

She should be able to do,all of the things she mentioned. Ok maybe the hair washing thing is really to,hard. Start making her do these things or you will become her slave. Trust me.

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answers from Seattle on

The only thing I think may be unreasonable is the hair washing. Especially with long hair she may actually not be able to do this herself and do a good job at it - again especially if she does not like the water running over her face.
As for all the other things, don't implement all of them at once, but one or two at a time - that way it's not too overwhelming.

Good luck!

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answers from San Diego on

I have high expectations for my six year old. I do wash her hair because she's much more interested in mohawks and bubbles so I'm there to clean her scalp.

There are a couple of zippers I get for her when they're super tricky otherwise, its all her.

I have her cut her own food with fork and knife. Bus her own plate. Get herself entirely ready for bed.

Just last night I had her write down her morning routine and the time things should be finished so she knows when she should be doing what so we can get to school on time. If she's late for school (which she HATES) its on her.

I do 'baby her' when she needs to regress by giving her a lot of snuggles and loves, but I refuse to do things for her as it seems to set a precedence the next time she goes to do it.

Its a funky judgement call as I don't want to completely frustrate my daughter though I love the look of success on her face when she does more than she thought she could do.

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answers from San Francisco on

That all sounds completely reasonable. Maybe her fine motor skills are a little slow, but the only way they will improve is with practice (beading, sewing and lacing are good ways to strengthen those muscles.)
How many younger kids do you have? Maybe she still wants to be your "baby" for some reason.

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answers from Dallas on

I don't think your expectations are out of whack. My daughter is 1 year younger than yours and does all the listed tasks herself.

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answers from Detroit on

My son just turned 4 and can do all those things (except the toothpaste unless assisted). He needs reminders but will follow through when asked. I would stop all activity until she does each thing. "We will wait for you to clear your plate" -- that kind of thing. Then literally just wait. Don't give in and do it for her. If you don't waver, she'll eventually give up trying. Good luck!

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answers from New York on

Those all sound like reasonable expectations for a 6-year-old, BUT, I don't think you've done anything wrong if she's not doing them yet. I'm dealing with all the same issues with my own 6-year-old (minus the buttons, b/c he's got some clinically diagnosed muscle tone issues), and we too have set a by-age-7 deadline.

So, either both our kids are both completely normal, or we've both done the same things wrong!

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answers from Washington DC on

I think that you've learned that your kid is a modern Tom Sawyer. ;) What we have learned about DD is that if it becomes important to HER to be independent, she'll work at it. For example, she loved her little potty and cried at the thought of it going away. I told her that 2013 was a new year and we were moving it. So I moved it, got a hook for the toilet seat (a Command hook) and used the space for some shelving I found. I told DD she could use the big potty as she was **a big girl** and suddenly the little potty was passe.

If she doesn't do the chore, she doesn't get the benefit, example - if she can't put away her Play Dough, she doesn't get more when it dries out. She knows this now, so when I say that any bendaroos that stick to Daddy's socks will get thrown out, she'll remember that and pick up her bendaroos. If she goes off without clearing her place, I make her stop whatever she is doing and go back and do it right and the amount of time it takes her to do it is her OWN time she is wasting. If she did it in the first place, she'd have more time to play.

If it is "too hard" you can refuse to buy those shirts or allow her to wear them (unless it's required as a uniform). Maybe narrow her wardrobe to the things without buttons and see if she complains about wearing those same 5 outfits. Leggings are still available.

And praise her whenever she does something right, asks for help without faking a broken arm, and remind her the benefits of being the big girl in the house. You can also make a list. When she gets home she does these three things before snack or play.

In some ways, it never ends. We got shoe bins for the closet. MY shoes are missing (probably shoved in the bin) and I still couldn't close the closet door half the time SD and SS were here. And they are far far too big to be tossing shoes all over the floor.

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answers from New York on

So glad to have read your post. I clearly remember being of her mindset when I was your daughter's age.

Here's an anecdote for you. Remember the monkey bars (those unsafe climbing structures you would find in the playground in the 70s and 80s)? Well my brother and I took to climbing up to the top then yelling at the top of our lungs for our mom to help us because we couldn't climb down. A well intentioned stranger intervened and gave my mother an upbraiding for callously chatting with a friend while her kids were in obvious distress. Mom walked the stranger to the monkey bars and called out to us, climb down this instant, no arguments, I've had enough of you and I've had enough of this stranger. We climbed down, heads hung low. Mom then told us to play elsewhere because she didn't want to receive more parenting help because of our antics. She then went right back to chatting with her friend.

DS who is two and change thinks its great fun to do things for himself and to "help" us. We've been encouraging him. Further, if he asks for help for something we know him to be capable of, we just respond with a "you can do it," "give it another try," "nearly there", "good trying", and when he finally gets it, "I'm so proud of you, you kept trying, and you got it done."

I don't think your expectations are unreasonable. Many below have advocated for her to have to face the natural consequences of her failure to complete these jobs. I'm all for it.

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.

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answers from Washington DC on

All of those things are completely reasonable.

My daughter is 6. October birthday.
Showers, just this week she started taking a shower all by herself without us helping (turning on the water, etc). Although you may still need to help with all that hair. Maybe help her soap it up after she tries first, but then she does the rest of the body and the rinse off.

Toothbrush. Again, my daughter can do these things, but if she tries to convince us that she is TOO tired to do it and can't we just do it for her. Just last night I left her to brush her teeth while I took a shower. She came in and said that she had brushed her teeth AND flossed. I was impressed and skeptical at the same time.

Snaps and buttons. Yes, she should be working on this. Along with tying her shoes.

Dirty clothes. Yes she should be doing this. My daughter calls her hamper Bob. When she picks up her clothes she says, 'time to feed Bob!'.

Lunchbox. Yep, unpacking the bookbag and lunchbox next to the sink is completely reasonable. I mean if she can carry it from the classroom to the lunchroom and back, carrying it from the bookbag to the sink at home is far easier.

Meal time. Cleaning up is what we are working on too. If she is truely done, then all plates, bowls, utensils are taken to the sink. The napkin in the trash. If she doesn't want to do that, it means to us that she isn't sure she is done and she has to sit back down and eat some more. If she is done with her meal, but not her drink, she is allowed to put it in the refrigerator for later. You should have seen us when she decided to buy lunch at school the first time. We had her practice carrying a fake tray and food from the stove to the table and then to the sink for cleanup since that is what she would have to do. It was pretty funny, but now she loves buying lunch. That has helped alot in the cleanup after dinner since that is what they do at lunch.

Another item we are working on is laundry. Both my kids now have to bring their hampers to my room and help me sort the clothes in to piles by color. If the hamper is too heavy, I will help them carry it, but they have to sort it. They then help me take the clothes down the hall, slide them down the stairs (a catching game where they slide the baskets down to me) and then to the washroom.

Clean their room. At least once a week, they both have to straighten up their room so we can vacuum.

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answers from Chicago on

She is at the age to do all of those things. unless she has some physical disability that you have not mentioned. My children and all the children I have nannyed for have been able to dress themselves (buttons, snaps etc) by the time they are 4 years old. I might have to help with a coat zipper or a really hard snap but regular they could do.

her hair she may need help with rinsing but as far as washing she should be doing it. my mom used to make us stand at the sink after our shower if it needed more rinsing and we had to stretch to get our necks far enough in.

chores. the lunch box thing is a control thing. I would suggest that if she doesn't bring it to you then you leave it for her to scramble for the next day. if she doesn't have it she will be really hungry at lunch. and the water bottle while nice to have is not a necessity. let her drink from the water fountain at school.

again by age 3 my kids and the kids I nanny for do the following
after eating all dishes, utensils and glasses are brought to the sink.
kids all empty their own trash cans from there rooms,
help carry garbage / recycle to the cans in the garage.
bring there own laundry to the laundry room.
help fold laundry (start with washcloths and underwear they are small lol) pick up toys (you will have to direct this ex: books on shelves, legos in bucket etc) don't just say clean up they have no clue.
make bed (really at that age just pull up sheets and blankets)
older kids also do the following:
do homework and put it back into bookbag for morning
lunchbox empty and on counter to make lunch for next day
pick outfit for next day and have it laid out (avoids all arguments in the AM)
shoes by door along with coat and or gloves hats etc

failure to do these results in consequences (said in very serious voice)
then explain consequence in your case it would be
don't bring lunch box and water bottle to kitchen then take no water bottle and lunch in grocery bag
don't pick up toys then loose them for a week
don't wash hair then it gets cut short
don't snap and do clothes then you wear baby stuff and get her only little girl stuff not the current big girl have to have thing.

none of your things you listed are to hard. she is playing you unless she has some sort of disability

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answers from Jacksonville on

The only one I really see as possibly an issue is the hair washing. It can be difficult to do it on their own, especially with long hair. My daughter didn't, and I really didn't want her to (at that age) because she never managed to get all the shampoo out.

The rest, I see no reason you have given why she shouldn't be able to do them. The dressing issues---meh... sometimes a pair of pants will have difficult snaps or buttons (the hole is sewn slightly smaller than it probably could have been, etc)... but not EVERY shirt. Not EVERY pair of pants--you will encounter the odd one here or there. Otherwise, she should be able to dress herself.

The backpack/lunchbox/clean up her room thing: obviously she CAN do them, but at 6, it is still very likely to fall on you to remind her daily to do them. As she comes in the house you catch her before she dumps the backback and remind her to take it _____. Same with the waterbottle/lunchbox. Catch her BEFORE she dumps it somewhere else.

Clothes, get her undivided attention (preferably at the same time each day, so you develop a routine) and tell her "it is time to _______" (pick up your dirty clothes, clean up your room, etc. Kids do not just naturally take their dirty clothes off and put them in the hamper--no matter how conveniently located the hamper is. My kid will drop items directly NEXT to the hamper. You have to remind them. Or set up a sticker or rewards chart for these items.

As for dinner issues, before she is excused from the table, have her scrape her plate off and put it in the dishwasher. Don't just expect her to do these. You have to remind her at every meal for awhile... eventually she will get it. And when she DOES remember to do it before you remind her, praise her for it. :)

ETA: You know, she might have some sort of fine motor skills issues. Have you considered that? The buttons and zippers thing... if you notice other fine motor skills issues, maybe a check in with the doc might be in order. Has her teacher mentioned anything regarding her use of scissors or pencils/crayons at school?

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answers from Chicago on

I go through this with my almost 5 yr old (March). She tests big time. She cannot get her lunch box for her preschool snack. She can't pick up her socks, she can't get her toothbrush, etc. It is amazing because she can climb the kitchen counter to get to the top of the kitchen cabinet to get the box of cookies she was not supposed to get in the first place or sneak out of the house last summer, get her bike up and out of the basement to ride in the yard. But picking up her dirty clothes or the toys she put on the floor is too hard or she doesn't know how. If she claims she does not know how, show her and expect her to do it herself. For buttoing pants, I would be more helpful but so many other things, give her a boost up and let her get it done. I do the same with my older kids, show them how and have them actually finish the task. Maybe a reward system would work. And there could be something there with the suggestion that she wants to be the baby.

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answers from Laredo on

From all the other answers and from my experience, I guess you can tell that your expectations are reasonable. I was just thinking that motivation might help. We started an idea I got from my sister-in-law. We call it Brown Bucks since our last name is Brown. Anyway, my kids do a chore, they get a Brown Buck, and then they can save up and use them for different things like TV, video games, and they can even save up for a date with mom or dad. I haven't been really diligent with it lately, but sometimes my 6 year old will ask for chores to do, so he can earn more. You may not want to do exactly what we do, but some sort of motivator like that would probably help. Good luck! Oh, and making your kids work makes you a GREAT mom. :D

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answers from Savannah on

Each of your requests sound reasonable. And I like that you have given her a date for the hair washing. It really might be more difficult to wash that length of hair for her (I had shorter hair, and don't remember having any problems). But if it comes down to having her hair cut, don't make it seem like a punishment, but include her in the decision of what hairstyle she would like. All of the daily chores are great, but she might need some reminding. She should have no problem doing the actual tasks though. If you have to remind her too many times without her following instructions afterward, I would start taking a privilege away until she can do her simple chores. After a while of reminding her, you should be able to back off because it will be more of a habit! Good luck!

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answers from Honolulu on

The thing is: Not even Husbands... do those things.
But we expect our little young children, to do it, better and more... than the Husband. For the Husband, there are tons of excuses. He works, he's tired, he needs to unwind etc.
Well a 6 year old "works" too, they go to school ALL day, they come home and are tired etc. and need to unwind. They have homework. They are not perfect. Either.

I have a 6 year old son.
And a 10 year old daughter.
They know what is expected and the timing of things. But on some days its harder than others. My son I will help him with things or not. Depending on his cues. Or they can go out as is. My son dresses himself and brushes his teeth and washes his hair. It doesn't have to be the way I want it. He has his own styles and ways of doing things, etc. But is still appropriate. I tell them if their clothes are getting outgrown, to tell me. Yes, the grow FAST. But I stay on top of it too.

Even me, some days I just DO NOT WANT TO DO MY CHORES. So then I don't.
Or, if my kids are especially not doing things by choice, I also... do not do things, if they ask me. I will tell them, as they tell me "I'm tired, no, Mommy doesn't want to..."

Again, no matter what age, expectations and results, are not always perfect or suitable.
But we teach our kids, right?
But again, the Husband and everyone in the house should be doing things/chores... if we are EXPECTING it of our children.

Or I tell my kids 'You CAN do it yourself, you know that. So do it." And I walk away.

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answers from Dallas on

Back off mama. She's pulling your leg. If her shirt is unbuttoned, she is going to be embarrassed because I am taking her to school.

Count her hair cut because it will make it easier for her to deal with. They have a hard time with it because they don't realize it takes a mix of shampoo and water to get a lather. Try to let her either shampoo a younger child or a doll or a dog to show her the mix.

She can bring lunch stuff to the kitchen but she will need reminders and consequences to form a habit. She has to make her own lunch, if box and bottle are not in kitchen by an hour after she is home.

The button thing on the pants is trickier but if you just don't buy the others, sonner or later she will have to. Unless you do it for her. Don't do it.

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answers from New York on

At 6, my daughter showered and washed hair independently, I just checked to make sure that the shampoo was thoroughly rinsed. She snapped her own pants - after all, no one was doing that for her at elementary school! My kids cleared their own place from the table at about four years old, put their own clothes in the laundry bag from the time they were able to undress themselves and put on their own toothpaste when they were preschoolers. Don't baby your daughter. Set high expectations. I never did things for my kids that it was appropriate for them to do for themselves at whatever age they were. I remember when my youngest was 4 or 5, and a friend with twins the same age came over. Friend was shocked when my son cleaned up his trash after snack - her kids just left it for her to clean up, and hung up his suit and towel over the deck rail after they swam - she still changed her kids out of their suits, and if the kids were left to their own devices, would have left the wet suits and towels in a heap on the floor. My daughter was vacuuming and dusting her room weekly at 9. Around that age, my kids were expected to change their own sheets and put away their laundry. My 13 year old does his own laundry, as did his older sister once she started high school,.

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answers from Phoenix on

Sounds like my DD. She is capable of all of the things you mentioned, but will often do the "I'm tired" or "I don't know how to" bit. I think it's them pushing to see how much they can get away with, boundary wise. Kids are smart and if they can work you, they will.I don't help if I know, for a fact, that she can do the task at hand.

Regarding the pants, we use the pants/jeans with adjustable elastic waist, so they're easy on, easy off. Old Navy's are particularly easy to deal with. Or, what about leggings, athletic pants, etc.? You should be able to find those in her size.

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answers from Washington DC on

My 5 year old has been doing most of those things on his own for over a year now. Granted he is my baby, but my daughter was also doing those things by the age of 3 or 4 and she is my oldest. I think you're being played.

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answers from San Francisco on

My youngest is 7 (oldest is 10 - both girls). I've noticed a huge variation in what they were each able to do at 6, but being that my youngest is also a fan of, "I can't do it. It's toooooo hard for me!" (followed by batting of eyelashes and swooning Scarlett O'Hara style)... I can sympathize. Here's what I think your little one can do at this age, no matter what:
* toothpaste on the toothbrush
* snap/button pants (even if she doesn't know, she'll figure it out REALLY quickly at school! LOL)
* dirty clothes in the hamper
* dishes in the sink (or the dishwasher, better yet)
* lunchbox in the kitchen (and cleaned out)
* additional chores are fine - my girls sort the laundry, empty the hampers into the laundry chute, help unload the dishwasher, sort the recycling, etc.

The only one on the list that my younger one has had trouble with is washing her hair. My daughters both have SUPER-thick hair, and at 6, although they would try, the results were often not satisfactory. In fact, although my younger one is in charge of washing her own hair now, at 7, I still do have to step in occasionally and really scrub her scalp. Our hair stylist says this is really pretty common, and that girls with a lot of hair have a hard time getting it really clean. What did help somewhat was having my youngest watch while the stylist washed my hair, while narrating the process. That seemed to help her confidence somewhat, in that an actual professional (not just mean mommy ;) showed her how to do it the right way.

Anyway, bottom line, if you think your daughter can do it, she probably can, and in any event she'll never learn if she's not given the opportunities to practice on a daily basis, right? :)

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answers from Santa Fe on

My son is 8 and he hates pants with buttons. He has a hard time with them so we just don't buy them. He can do snaps just fine. He has been washing his own hair this year and taking showers instead of baths. But this only started this year. I do have to pop my head in and remind him bc he will be singing away and goofing off in the shower and totally forget to wash his hair. He does his own toothpaste, and does those simply daily chores you mentions. His little 3 year old sister does those same chores so I definitely think your 6 year old can do it! You should not back fact I think you should give her a little more responsibility around the house.

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answers from Philadelphia on

My 3.5 y/o son does all those things except for the hair washing and dishwasher unloading.
She'll get there. She might need time to practice the self-care, and reminders for the chores.
Sometimes you have to really break down all the steps to things like buttoning. Maybe show her that there aren't elastic waist pants in the stores in her size and tell her you will help her learn.

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answers from Detroit on

My daughter is 5 and totally capable of doing all the things you listed. She will wash her own hair but I do help her to rinse it to make sure all the shampoo is out. And I do help her with buttoning blouses in the morning for school because the buttons are tiny, there's a lot of them, they need to be lined up correctly, and we are usually in too much of a hurry for me to let her spend an hour figuring it out herself. But she has to manage snaps and buttons on her pants at school because she needs to be responsible for herself in the bathroom and nobody is helping her out in there.

Now sometimes she does whine and wants my help with stuff that I know she can do herself, and I think it's when she's feeling tired and just isn't up to it. If I can see she's tired (end of the day, before bed, etc.) I will do it for her but other times I just put my foot down and tell her to get going. So I think your expectations are reasonable, maybe some things she finds more challenging than others, but for stuff like putting dirty clothes in a hamper, a 2 year old can do that. So I would start calling her bluff - she may just be used to people doing things for her and not being expected to do it on her own, but I would just start telling her that you know she is a big girl now and there's no reason why she can't.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Sounds like you have a lot of good replies already, but I'll weigh in anyway. My oldest is five and a boy, so I can't help you with the hair washing. However, everything else you've mentioned sound like things she definitely should be doing by this age. Kids in elementary school are expected to be able to fully dress themselves/snap/button their pants when they use the bathroom, so it is a reasonable expectation that they are physically and developmentally capable of doing so. My son turned five in May and, while he couldn't snap his own jeans in the spring, he was able to do it when he started wearing pants again when the weather turned cooler in the fall.

He has been responsible for clearing his own dish since he started preschool at age 3, since they had to do it at snacktime at school. He still sometimes will leave his napkin or his cup on the table, but usually is good about fully clearing his spot. Though I don't make him do it, I actually think at his age (and certainly at almost 7) he could be putting his dishes in the dishwasher.

He sorts his own laundry into three baskets - wash in warm, wash in cold, or whites. He's been doing this for at least six months, maybe more, but I don't remember. He also needs to bring his lunchbox and school folder into the kitchen and set them on the counter.

We've been talking a lot about being responsible with his things lately, mostly so he doesn't leave scissors, legos, etc where my two year old will get them.

As I said, aside from the hair, your daughter should definitely be doing everything else you mentioned. Maybe the hair, too.

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answers from Los Angeles on

All of these things are reasonable requests, with *maybe* the exception of her hair?

My 4 y/o can do all the things you have stated EXCEPT was her own hair but my boys (9 & 7) can wash their own hair and sometimes the 4 & 7 y/olds have trouble with buttoning their jeans, snaps they can do but buttons can sometimes be tricky.

The 'chores' are all doable at her age...although I do not ask my kids to un-load the dishwasher yet, just b/c my husband is anal about dirty dishes being put away and sometimes the young kids can miss some of the dirty ones that didn't come clean.

I suggest just keep up with asking her nicely to try to do things herself and then offer your help after she has truly tried.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Seems like to me that if she isn't fastening the pants on her own either from not being able or not wanting to that just makes her decide to not go to the bathroom and stuff more.

As for the other stuff, my 9 year old doesn't even have half those chores. She'd think I was horrible if I made her do all that.

I also make sure she combs her hair in the shower with the conditioner on it. Then she rinses her hair out. I help her and she's 9. If she does it herself and it's good then I'm happy for her. If it's still tangled and not combed out I make her get back in, I put conditioner in it and I comb it out. I like her hair longer and I have to take part in the grooming of it. Again, she's 9 and still learning.

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answers from Victoria on

I also read your "what happened". I just want to point out that you try to remind her when your getting out of the car but some times it slips your mind...hers too! Its ok that if you check up on her before bed time that she goes and puts her lunch box up then or another time. The pants thing would get on my nerves. My son turned five this week and the only pants with a button he has he can do..its a snap. But I make sure he can get dressed himself. shoes socks and all. All his shoes have v elcro or slip ons. But he can do it himself. He also showers himself. I still get his water the right temp and pour a blob of shampooh in his hair...the rest he does. Were working on him getting out of the shower. But for the most part they are little ones in training to be great adults. I am usually no nonsence and the blah of saying i cant do it or its too hard they know thats not getting by me~ my daughter will be three in a couple weeks and has been clearing her plate forever...we have to remind both but they do it.

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answers from El Paso on

I'm with Ina. Only thing I could question is the hair washing. My almost 4 year old can do everything else you're asking.

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answers from Norfolk on

My son turns 7 next week and can do ALL of those on his own, most without asking, and many since he was 5.

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answers from San Francisco on

It doesn't sound like any of this is too hard for a six year old. The next time she can't button her shirt, when she gets home get out a button down shirt and make her practice.

There is simply NO WAY that putting her dirty clothes in the hamper is too difficult - that's just lazy. Same with the lunch box.

I never made my daughter do anything - HUGE MISTAKE. She is now an adult who doesn't feel like it is her responsibility to do anything. You (I) set the stage - they just perform (or not) on it.

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answers from San Antonio on

My daughter is 3 years, 3 months and does all the things you mentioned except for buttoning her shirts. I do check her hair to make sure she gets the shampoo out of it, but she does the washing part.

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answers from Detroit on

some children strive for independence .. others children do not. yours obviously does nto want to be independent...

i would pick one and only one thing to work on. you list many things and taht is a lot for a child to work on at once..

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answers from Philadelphia on

emmy turned 6 is september
-she has to wash her own body and hair...i turn on the water and adjust temperatures for safety reasons (i like hot (burning) showers and dont want to lower the temp on the water heater for all J. for her
-brush her own teeth
-clean up toys (i ussually help)
-put all clothes in hamper (spiral staircase so she cant carry the basket down when full)
-help set the table
-after dinner clear ALL plates, throw out all trash, and help put away anything in the fridge that needs to be put away, and then wipe the table and chairs down with clorox wipes
no desert or snack until after thats done
-she also practices on the piano by herself while we finish cleaning up from dinner and then we practice with her after
her chores take under 5 minutes
oh also were working with putting things where they go in the 1st place (coat on rack, shoes on shelf) she ussually corrects M.=)

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