Can my 5 and 6yr old shower themselves? +other responsibilities

User - posted on 05/15/2013 ( 4 moms have responded )

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Last night was a serious test of my patience, moody period mom +cranky kids....

Bathing time is one of the things I look forward to the least. I want to consider making my kids clean themselves from now on.

First, know that we unfortunately do not have time for baths except two times a month. The kids have after school extra curricular activities which means my evenings are get the kids, get dinner into them, rush out the door, get home and get them brushed, flossed, pajama'd, prayed and in bed before 8pm. They're tired and cranky, (and well I usually am too lol) Half of the week they're with myself and my husband, and the other half their with their bio mother. The days the kids DO NOT have extra curricular activities fall on her days, and unfortunateley, basic hygenical needs are not taken care of when in her care. The brush their teeth on their own, do not get bathed, do not get their required treatments prescribed by their Dr, and you can forget them ever come home with their nails trimmed or their hair cut. Which leaves me with the full responsibility of being the better parent. 3-4 days they go without proper hygienic care. This means I have to do super quick showers before activities, after (if they're not too cranky) or on our weekends (twice a month) On those days, we get to have baths with toys, bubbles ect... and while we still have tears when we are being cleaned, it's not as bad.

The problem with showering is described below...
I get so frustrated bathing them, I thought about making them clean themselves from here on out.. but then they would never get clean. Their hair would be cleaned in one spot, fingernails would still be dirty ect... I'm just tired of the screaming and crying that I have to put up with while I clean them off. The entire bathing process from start to finish is done with tears and screams. With me going "it's okay, we're just going to do this, just hold still do I don't get it in your mouth, okay now we're going to rinse so take a breath" I walk them through the entire process like it's their first time ever having a bath EVERY time just to keep them mildly calm enough to keep me from putting earplugs in! But EVERY time it's "I don't want to take a bath/shower, I'm cold I'm cold I'm cold (tears over being cold) when I wash their hair it's "I can't open my eyes! I can't see! There's soap in my mouth!" (Yes we use tear free baby shampoo/soap) with me going "it's okay you don't need to see, I'm just washing your hair you can open them in a minute, the grown ups have to keep their eyes closed when we wash our hair, that's part of getting clean" then when we rinse, even though the soap is gone, there is now drops of water clinging to our eyelids, and demand for a towel to wipe their eyes anytime water touches them is expressed though screaming tears. I explain that they just need to iwpe their eyes with their hands so that they can open them, I even wipe it for them but they refuse to open them. They panic because they can't see, and even opening their eyes, have convinced themselves that the water is burning them. I don't want to start the routine of keeping a washcloth handy to wipe their eyes everytime they get wet as it will become a "thing" I'm not one to put a Band-aid over a child situation just to make it go away temporarily only to become a problem later. When can I make them bathe on their own and turn them loose in the shower knowing that they will actually get themselves clean well? Like 8?

LAUNDRY: Are they old enough to fold and put away properly?
(5 and 6) in a month. I just can't imagine them having the dexterity or desire to complete the job and do it well. I see shirts folded in half, crooked, and placed poorly in drawers...

I can reward laundry with stickers on their sticker charts, but unlike their female counterparts who are seemignly obsessed with outfit organization and display... their amount of care for clothing consist's of choosing a long sleeve fleece batman shirt in the summer to wear with shorts, pants, pajama's... really whatever their hands touch first lol.

When do you think they can fold and put away on their old? And hang up on their own?

LUNCHES: Should they be making them on their own too? I had a mother tell me that I was not following the "age regimen" (obviously this is some motherly regimen which should be known to all mother's (sarcasm)) "my kids were making their lunches since they were 4"
I have an obvious time deficieny for this kind of responsibility, there isn't time in the morning or the evening for my kids to take 15 minutes to prep a turkey and cheese sandwich. It would be nice if they could do this on their own, but the whole "you need to do it quickly because we don't have time" still has yet to sink in... we still take forever to get our shoes on (roll around on the floor, grab a toy, poke the dog, fight with my sibling, walk slower than molasses to the car, pick up worm instead of getting in car, pick up piece of rock on car floor instead of getting into seat with mom going "c'mon hurry hurry! Run run! Look at me! See how I'm rushing and going fast because we are in a hurry??"

4 Comments

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Ceatana - posted on 05/23/2013

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Im 24 i have 4 kids I understand what your saying my 4 yr old and 6yr old put their clothes away and fold them sometimes I have to correct the four yr old but they get it they clean their room and take their selves a shower most of the time I put my 2, 4, and 6 yr old in the bath and the oldest bathes the youngest so I can deal with the baby..you havr to have a routine like wake up brush teeth make sure their clothes are picked out the night before down to what socks and shoes then brush hair and ect...if the breakfast thing is too much then you can either wake up alittle earlier or if its just cereal u can put it in a ziploc bad a they can eat on the go now if they take their lunches to school do them the night before if its a sandwich wrap it up put all the stuff in the lunch box its ready to go ...in my house we have a reward chart good behavior gets a sticker if they misbehave I take away one and I write the reasons why so later when they ask I can tell yjem and at the end of the week whoever gots the most gets a prize it also shows them how to act when they win and how to accept losing

Cc - posted on 05/17/2013

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I'm sorry that you are tired and hate bath time, but they must be bathed. Force yourself into a routine. Find them something fun to do in the bathtub like toys, colorful soap, bubble bath. My sister mixes shaving cream with food dye and lets her kids "paint" the shower walls. The more they have a routine of bathing every night, the less they will fight you because they will know you will not let them out of it.
Don't worry about the other mom. You cannot change someone else's behavior, only your own.
Bedtime at 8pm on the dot sounds like a bit of an excuse. Push it back to 8:30 so you don't have to rush. It sounds like you are putting stress on yourself by giving yourself limitations.
As for chores, I definitely think a 5 or 6 year old could learn to fold their laundry. Even if it's not perfect, they can definitely play a role. Whatever rules you lay down, they will follow. If they don't follow your rules, give them consequences.

It is normal for young kids to get so distracted and even more normal for moms to be frustrated and rushing them along. However, maybe you need to get up 15 minutes earlier so that them stopping to look at a worm won't mean that you will all be late.

Out of curiosity, what is your work schedule like?

User - posted on 05/15/2013

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The other mother issue is a whole separate debate. CAS has already been involved and ruled her able. No one can prove that their hygienic needs are not being met without living it as myself and my husband do. A statement from a 4 and 5 year old are not admissible, and lack of hygiene is not on the care list for CAS. The school is aware of the parenting plan, and the issues involved with the other party. Quite honestly, the kids not being clean is the smallest problem we have encountered yet in our 2 1/2 year battle. If the kids not being clean or well rested is the only thing we have to worry about, than I accept and have adapted to that. As jaw-dropping as this may seem to most of you, I thank god every day that things have become as stable as they are now. This entire problem is neither changeable or debatable, and I will not be elaborating or discussing it further as I only wish to focus on the subject of chores and bathing ability. That said, know that we do shower, cut their hair, trim their nails, floss and brush their teeth for them as any smart parent would do when they are in our care. The father helps whenever he is here, but is working when the available time frame for these needs is being met.

So.. back to our topic. What goals should I set for the kids regarding chores, and interdependent responsibilities? Right now all they do is put their gargbage away, take their plates to the kitchen counter, clean up their play room on their own, and get dressed on their own (although I lay out their outfits)

Shauna - posted on 05/15/2013

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First off I want to say that I am sorry that you are having to do all of this and having such a hard time doing it, but it sounds like your husband isn't helping you at all. He is their father and should be taking some of that responsibility off of you or at least helping you. Second, I think that I would be telling my husband that he needs to speak with his kids mother and tell her that they need baths every time they come over or I would be reporting her to the abuse and neglect hotline, because she is truly and honestly neglecting her children by not giving them a bath when they are with her and she is abusing them by letting them go dirty. I would also like to say that I know you are busy and so are the kids, but you HAVE to make time to give them a bath no matter how rough it is, because with them being in school someone could report you and your husband to the abuse and neglect hotline for them not being clean and you could possibly lose them. NO matter how busy kids are they get dirty and they NEED a bath every other night if not every night.

I am married and have two kids but my husband is not around at this time so I am basically like a single mom and I work 40 plus hours a week and have a ton of other things that have to be taken care of. I am currently taking my youngest daughter back and forth to the children's hospital at least twice a month, and she is constantly having surgery, but I give them a bath every night and cook dinner and do laundry and everything else that needs to be done.

On the chores part, yes I definitely think that they could do things for themselves. Both of my kids age 5 and 2 clean up their toy and help do dishes and take care of their clothes, I fold them and give them to them to take care of, but when they put them away they may not stay folded but they understand what to do and they know where they go. They love helping put the clothes in the washer and dryer and they bring them down to me when they need to be washed.

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