7 Things You Still Can't Trust Your Big Kid to Do

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j bubbles
At least he has bathtime covered!
Growing up, I was taught that turning 7 years old signified reaching the "age of reason." What that meant, exactly, I wasn't quite sure (except that I could make my 1st Holy Communion). But now that I have kids of my own, an 11-year-old and, you guessed it, a 7-year-old, I think I kinda get what they were talking about. Once you hit the age of 7, you're a bonafide big kid. A 7-year-old knows right from wrong, more or less. A 7-year-old is also pretty independent, or at least that's the way it seems: Like he's capable of handling most of the everyday tasks that younger kids with less developed motor skills can't pull off on their own. And in fact, he seems capable because he probably IS capable. Phew! Time to take a step back, helicopter parents.

Except, not really.

Just because he's capable of getting things done "all by himself" doesn't mean he actually will. Here are 7 things you still can't trust your big kid to do (even though he knows how to do them):

1. Brush his teeth properly. "Did you brush your teeth?" "Yup!" Technically, he's probably telling the truth. Whether or not he brushed all of his teeth, remembered to use toothpaste, remembered to put the cap back on the toothpaste, and/or remembered to not squirt the toothpaste all over the sink, however, is unclear.

2. Clean up his room. To be fair, my son is getting much, much better at this chore. At first glance, his tidying up skills are actually pretty impressive! Until you drop something on the floor and reach down to pick it up and notice the 800 tiny Lego pieces under the radiator or the pile of construction paper scraps under his bed.

3. Do his homework. Again, to be fair, this is probably not his fault. I mean, are they trying to trip kids up on purpose? From the (only occasionally!) double-sided worksheets to the photocopied pictures of unidentifiable coins to those ambiguous word/definition match-ups ... yeah, good luck with that.

4. Get dressed. Wardrobe malfunctions we've experienced at our house include: Forgetting to wear socks. Putting on a dirty shirt from the hamper instead of a clean one from the drawer. Forgetting to change underwear. Short sleeves on a cold day. Long sleeves on a hot day. The list goes on ...

5. Prepare food. I know, practice makes perfect and they have to learn somehow and all that. But if you tell your kid to make his own breakfast, for example, brace yourself for the inevitable trail of milk sploshes on the floor, scattered Cheerios (also on the floor), burnt toast crumbs all over the butter and more.

6. Walk the dog. No explanation needed.

7. Shower. Another milestone that takes some mastering, it's more of a challenge to get everything good and clean in the shower than it is in the bath, it seems. (Let 'em soak in the tub long enough and the dirt is bound to come off, right?)

What everyday things does your big kid still need supervision to accomplish?

behavior, boys, independence, kid health, kid activities


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Doomy234 Doomy234

I notice that "forgetting to put on socks" is quite common for this age group. Except in my stepson's case it is "forgetting to put on anything but a cape and some sweatpants when its time to play outside." But only in winter. Even when we wrangle him into shoes, he loses them within minutes. And in summer he'll wear a thick leather jacket. >.

Histo... HistoryMamaX3

Socks are my end all! My 7 year old will take them off immediately, leaving them where ever they may fall... only to get a new pair when I tell him to take his shoes OFF and put his socks ON so that we can leave.

We finally made a 'underpants too!' sign for his dresser so he'd remember to change them at night when putting on his pajamas. This seems to help, though me yelling up the stairs- don't forget to change your underpants' while he was changing, did not... o.O


And, kids NEED adults to check their teeth until they are much older than 7- not something we should ever just leave up to them, no matter how tedious it might seem. Oral care is just too important.

Virid... ViridianSoul

Hair washing is the bane of my existence where it concerns my DS. He hates getting his face wet with a passion, and howevermuch love he has for the shower, he will come out squeaky clean everywhere else...except for his head. The only time his hair ever gets washed is if I do it, but I inevitably get the "Mooooommy! I'm naked in here and I need my privacy!" line. lol

the4m... the4mutts

My 2 oldest, ages 6 & 9, can do all these except walk the dog. No supervision needed. My 9y/o cooked us all pizza made from biscuits, using a recipe he found in a kids cook book in the library. Used the oven, knives, everything.

My 6y/o makes mac n cheese, showers, dresses, does homework at 6pm without bing told...

Hell, my 4y/o can start a load of laundry and make a salad. Kids aren't stupid or too forgetful if you don't let them get by with "I can't do it!"

the4m... the4mutts

Oh, and teeth brushing... my 4, 6 & 9 y/o all do it alone. I almost never check them. And they've never had plaque buildup, or a cavity. Their dentist thought I must have done it for them. Pft. Yah right.

chigi... chigirl1228

Good I thought it was just me mutts... my 4 yr old brushes her teeth, bathes,gets dressed, and makes her own sandwich. Why you ask? Because I taught her, supervised her, and now expect it. She also cleans her room and makes her bed and puts her clean laundry away.

nonmember avatar Aunna

I'm a firm believer that kids will live up to your expectations. My 6 year old has been brushing his teeth, showering, cleaning his room and making his bed, loading the dishwasher, etc for the past 2 years. How and why? Because I taught him to and once he mastered the skills I expected him to do them on his own.

ivego... ivegotrhythm

My nine year old can do all of these things and still be the sole caretaker of chickens,outside dogs and barn cats, and in charge of watering the horses.  He can make himself breakfast and even dinner and packs his own lunches. 

Children live either up or down to your expectations of them.  I expect my son to be a productive member of this household and he never lets me down.

Jespren Jespren

Seriously? My kids are 4 and 2, but *i* did all those things without trouble by 7, as did my brother. Sure an occassional spill probably happened (which I cleaned up), and I did need to be reminded about underwear, but not because I forgot, because I hated wearing them at that age so intentionally didn't put them on. Maybe your boy doesn't wear socks because...he doesn't like socks! Heck, I'm 30 and I can't stand 'em. Only time you'll catch me in socks is if it's so cold frostbite is an issue.

Bridg... Bridget1981

Seriously.  Kids are totally capable of doing pretty much everything on this list if you give them the chance.  Start showing them how to do stuff when they're young  and when they get a little bit older, they will be able to do it.  Holy crap, My nine yr old can do laundry (the only thing he'll do is check with me as to which setting I want the washer or dryer on), my 7 year old will ask me to check her hair before she gets out of the shower to make sure she's gotten it rinsed well (which I don't mind doin because her hair is down to her butt) but otherwise she does it herself.  The problem nowadays is that people do too much for their children to the point that kids don't know how to do anything for themselves anymore.  When my nine year old was seven, he made supper for all his siblings because I was sick as a dog.  Put the one year old in his high chair (with bib and everything) and took care of them so mommy could rest!  People need to put more faith in the fact that kids are able to do shit for themselves.

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