The Results Are In – What Real Moms Think When Asked About Appropriate Ages

I have personally struggled with knowing when to allow their children to do certain things independently, even with my Childhood Development degree.  There is no handbook or manual that gives an exact age when a child should start sleeping in a “big girl” bed, start helping with chores, stop using a stroller; it is up to the parent to make the executive decision while keeping in mind safety, privacy, and also allowing the child to gain the independence they need to develop in order to one day live on their own successfully.

As an educator, I got frustrated with the daily lack of independence that some children exhibited simply because their parents did it for them, not that they were incapable, it may have just been easier or faster for them to do it for their child.   I may have been a witch teacher for forcing my students to try to do it by themselves first before coming to me for help.  For example, zipping and unzipping their coats.  It dove me nuts when they would just stand there and expect that I, the teacher unzipped or zipped up their coat without even giving it a shot.  I  had one child who would just whip out his unshoed foot at me and demand that I place it back on his foot.  I refused to get down on the ground and put it back on his foot, demanding that he at least try – this caused tears because I was making him try to do it on his own when he was use to someone doing it for him.  He was pleasantly surprised when he was able to get the shoe back on his foot – a step in the right direction to independence.

After sending out a 10 question survey to a few Mom groups that I am in on Facebook, I found out what other moms think when asked about appropriate ages.  38 moms with children ranging from infant to early adult completed the survey.  Here are the results:

1.Take a shower/bath independently:FullSizeRender

Age 7 – 65.79% (25 people) felt that 7 years old was an appropriate age

Age 8 – 31.58% (12 people) felt that 8 years old was an appropriate age

Age 9 & 10 – 0%

Other – 2.63% (1 person) felt that 5 years old was an appropriate age

2. Dressing themselves (picking out clothes and getting dressed)Get dressed

Age 2 – 10.53% (4 people)

Age 3 – 31.58% (12 people)

Age 4 – 26.32% (10 people)

Age 5 – 18.42% (7 people)

Age 6 – 5.26% (2 people)

Age 7 – 0%

Other thoughts? – 7.89% (3 people)

“They can dress themselves as soon as they show interest. But you still pick out their clothes for important things, events or days when one of their outfits may not be appropriate.”

“Picking out clothes for school or planned event 6 or 7 but 3 otherwise. Just might be wearing princess clothes everyday.”

“Depends on the child, but starting this at 2-most are capable.”

3. Picking up after themselves

Age 2 – 57.89% (22 people)

Age 3 – 28.95% (11 people)

Age 4 – 10.53% (4 people)

Other – 2.63% (1 person)

“They can start helping as soon as they are capable, that means putting a few toys back , not necessarily all of the toys.”

4. Stop using a baby monitor

Age 2 – 24.32% (9 people)

Age 3 – 29.73% (11 people)

Age 4 – 16.22% (6 people)

Other – 29.73% (11 people)

“Any age with a sick child.”

“Not necessary depending on age and sleeping arrangements.”

“As soon as they call out instead of cry.”

“The kids are on a separate floor from parents. Monitor still used even though they are 6.”

5. Allow to play out in the yard without an adultoutside

Age 4 – 18.42% (7 people)

Age 5 – 23.68% (9 people)

Age 6 – 18.42% (7 people)

Age 7 – 13.16% (5 people)

Other – 26.32 (10 people)

“It depends on how accessible the yard is to the door/windows for monitoring and if there is a fence or main road.”

“It depends, if they are in the back yard I would say 5 as long as you check on them, if they are on the drive way I would stay outside with them for a while.”

6.  Transfer into a “big” bedbed

Age 2 – 54.05% (20 people)

Age 3 – 29.73% (11 people)

Age 4 – 13.51% (5 people)

Other – 2.70% (1 person)

7. Stay home alone for a short period of time

Age 7 – 0%

Age 8 – 2.63% (1 person)

Age 9 – 2.63% (1 person)

Age 10 – 42.11% (16 people)

Age 11 – 10.53% (4 people)

Age 12 – 36.84% (14 people)

Other – 5.26% (2 people)

8. Play in a room without constant supervisionplayroom

Age 2 – 44.74% (17 people)

Age 3 – 28.95% (11 people)

Age 4 – 18.42% (7 people)

Other – 7.89% (3 people)

9. Wash hands and face after meals without assistancehands and face

Age 2 – 21.05% (8 people)

Age 3 – 42.11% (16 people)

Age 4 – 31.58% (12 people)

Other – 5.26% (2 people)

10. Stop the use of a stroller

Age 2 – 10.53% (4 people)

Age 3 – 42.11% (16 people)

Age 4- 15.79% (6 people)

Other – 31.58% (12 people)

“In would say 4 for most instances however for vacation it is different and I think that age depends greatly on the family size and individual children.”

“4- if child fits in stroller, why not? Make life EASY!”

“For long distances, like a major city’s zoo or amusement park, strollers are convenient; but for short trips to the mall or local park, the age to stop would be 4.”

I do not have older children and I am still learning, but I do feel that kids are VERY capable.  I think that kids can do A LOT more than adults think and sometimes it might be faster or easier to just do it for them, but lets think of raising independent individuals and also those 26 zippers that teachers will have to zip and unzip.

Stay tuned to a future post about how Justin and I are raising an independent little girl.

Thanks for stopping by!


What are your thoughts?  What other milestones do you have strong opinions about?

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