10 Simple Life Skills Kids Should Master by Age 5 (Think: Wipe Their Own Butts)

If there’s one thing no one will ever accuse me of, it’s being a helicopter parent. You know, the kind of parent who’s constantly swooping down on her kids to do something for them that they should be able to do themselves. No hovering here.

I want them to be self-sufficient, after all. It makes them confident, responsible, and helps them grow up. Not that I want them to grow up faster or anything. I just prefer to not, you know, be packing a 16-year-old's lunch every day.

My kids are 5, 7, and 9. At their ages, these are the things I expect them to know:

*I said expect. We're still working on number 6.

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wamom223 wamom223

I agree with almost all of these.  But I don't think a five year old should walk the dog, our son scoops poop in the back yard but does not have free reign of the neighborhood and wont for some time.  And I really think walking the dog is a responsibility you shouldn't give for them to do alone until they are a teenager at least.  My dogs have been attacked on walks about four times (spread out between seven years and two dogs) and those were situations I had a hard time dealing with so I can't imagine giving it to an 8 year old.  I think its appropriate to give kids jobs at a young age.  My sister didn't and her daughter is now 14 and my son has more chores than she does.

adamat34 adamat34

I see pros and cons.to this entire list. Granted the wiping.one is a good point. As parents we should be packing lunches and bundling.our babies up. I dont.know one mom who doesnt.

As for chores...sure the help is nice...but who wants to honeslty leave it.to beaver when.it.comes to ourhomes. Putting toys away is sufficient at age 5, maybe help unload/load the dishwasher .

Im not saying we should coddle our kids, but lets do the small stuff.for them as.parents should.

Evaly... EvalynCarnate

You want a 5 year old to pack their own lunch? I think a few of these are shooting a little far..

Taisie Taisie

Your youngest child is 5 and you are "still working on number six"? Old enough to go to school and still working on learning how to wipe his/her own butt? I think he/she should definately knw how to do that by him/herself at that age.

And I agree that children should not walk dogs by themselves until much older, first due to the fact that the dog may get into a scruffle with another dog, and second because I don't think children should be out walking by themselves even without a dog untill  they are much older, ie: at least 12.

Anyhow, that's just my opinion, you are entitled to yours.


gabe05 gabe05

My four year old almost has the wiping his bottom thing down, although some #2's still require assistance.  I like my kitchen not covered in crumbs, thanks, so making their snacks and lunches will need to wait a few more years.  The others, I pretty much agree.  However, my phone is in my pocket at all times.  We stopped having a house phone when my oldest kids were three and one and my youngest not born.  Even my nearly eleven year old has never answered a phone.  I think they will learn phone manner when they have a cell phone of their own, which is still two or three years off for my oldest!  I sympathize with the writer however:  we still joke about me telling a caller mom was canning tomatoes and couldn't come to the phone in the middle of winter.

Laura Palmer

ugh... the butt wiping thing does not happen over night... I do a 12 year old boy's laundry and apparently I cannot stress enough wipe till it's clean not just wipe the big chunks away and hope for the best.

wamom223 wamom223

For mom's with #2 wiping drama.  Invest in some flushable wipes.  It helps with the 'learning curve.'  But learn from my mistakes and make sure you tell them how many they are allowed to use or they will clog up your toilet.

nonmember avatar April

I agree with most of these by age 5. I sure wouldn't want my kids to walk the dog by themselves when they were 5. But our jobs as parents are to make sure our children become self sufficient by the time they leave the home. Kids should have certain chores and not be coddled all the time. My kids are now 23 & 26 and both have jobs and live on their own. I gave my kids chores when they were young, I didn't coddle them and do everything for them. My brother has 4 kids, ages 24, 21, 19, & 17. Only one graduated from school and they all still live in the home. None of the kids have ever held a job or done a chore in their life. Their kids stay online or lay around and watch tv day and night. My brother and his wife wait on them hand and foot still. They even get an allowance, for what, I'm not even sure.

nonmember avatar Stacey

When I was a kid, I didnt do laundry until I was a senior in high school(and then it was rare, just to teach me how) I even brought my laundry home from college when I would come home. I never made my own lunch(something I will forever cherish is the special lunches my dad made me). My parents didn't coddle me, they just didn't make me take care of their house. I had a job at 14, I worked at work, worked at school, and relaxed when I wasn't doing homework at home. I graduated college with a double major and high honors. I work a day job, run a business, raise my child and take care of my house. Don't assume because someone's 5 year old isn't doing the dishes or making a snack or packing a lunch, that they are never going to amount to anything.

Kami McManus

some of these are a bit much but having them help in general is not far fetched. My now 6 yr old feeds the dog, picks up her own room and a few other little things that are well within in her abilities. Nothing wrong with kids have some responbilities and helping out. In fact I think they NEED it. Helps them learn to be team players, not to mention self help skills for being able to do all those things when they leave the house ....if they never, cook, clean, do laundry at home when will they learn....magically on their own when they move out? Why not teach them a little at a time as they group at age appropriate times? Makes a lot more sense to me.


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