Self care: what to expect when
As your child gets older she will learn and want to do more things for herself, from tying her shoelaces and taking a bath to making her bed and setting the table. While watching your primary school child grow increasingly independent can be bittersweet, learning to take care of herself is an important part of her personal and social development.
Skills she will work at
Dressing and undressing:
Your primary school child should be more than able for the challenge of zippers, buttons, and clasps. It’s also around this time that your child will learn how to tie her shoes, though some children don’t get the hang of it until around age six.
Using the toilet:
By the time your child enters primary school, she should be completely self-sufficient in the bathroom, though she still may not be proficient at wiping.
Taking a bath:
Some children this age may want to bathe on their own, though they will need help with washing their hair and body. Give your five-year-old the illusion of independence by getting the bathwater ready and then staying in the background, but within earshot n case she needs a hand. It’s also important that you teach your child to always turn the cold water on first and ensure that the water isn’t too hot so a child can’t accidentally scald herself.
Five year olds should be able to pour to fix themselves a bowl of cereal and pour themselves a glass of cereal or some juice but be prepared for some spills!
Packing her school-bag:
Primary school children will feel very grown up about packing their bag for school. You will probably need to check, though, to make sure that essentials such as sweaters, raincoats, and lunches are not left out.
Helping our around the house:
Your child at this age will be able to pick up her toys, make her beds and tidy their bedrooms. They can also help with simple tasks in the kitchen and garden. Most children will love watering flowers or helping to stir brownie mix.
What you can do
As always, encouragement is essential. Whenever your child tries her hand at a new skill, tell her you’re proud she made the effort (regardless of the result) and urge her to try again. Don’t always jump in to help as soon as she gets stuck as it’s vital that she has enough time to master tasks on her own, at her own pace. Try not to pressure her before she’s ready, either. Be flexible, if packing her backpack prolongs the process of getting ready or school, build in extra tome. If tying her shoelaces seems to take forever, try to remain calm. The more she practices these newfound skills, the more accomplished she’ll get.
It’s important that you try not to redo jobs over again after your child. She will notice and will assume that she didn’t do it correctly.
Make sure that you keep a watchful eye on your child when she experiments with things she hasn’t tried before and explain to her why she can’t do everything herself. Tell her why it’s not safe for her to turn on the oven or cur her own bread with the bread knife.
What to watch out for:
Children reach milestones and develop skills differently, some more quickly than others, but if your child actively resists attempting any of the tasks above or shows no interest in learning them, talk to her G.P.
As the years go by, your child will get better and better at taking care of herself. She will be able to make herself toast for breakfast and before you know it she will able to cook dinner and do her own washing!