Raising independent kids: What can a 4-year-old do?

Four-year-olds are observant, imaginative, sensitive — and generally terrific! They’re really starting to pay attention to what grown-ups do. This is a great time to train them so that they can be independent.Make their own bed.

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  • Four-year-olds are observant, imaginative, sensitive — and generally terrific! They’re really starting to pay attention to what grown-ups do. This is a great time to train them so that they can be independent.

  • Make their own bed

  • Make sure your child has easy bedcovers. They can pull up the sheet and blanket and cover with a comforter. Don’t be too picky while they’re learning. Have them do this every morning.

  • Brush their own teeth

  • They can learn to brush their own teeth pretty well at this age. Teach them how to go in circles, clean their tongue, etc. Be sure and watch them for quite a while until they have this mastered.

  • Make breakfast

  • Your child can now learn to make their own breakfast. They can pour the cereal and the milk (use smaller containers if necessary). They can make instant oatmeal or microwave eggs. (Tell them to be careful of hot things!) Teach them throughout this year, starting with easy things first.

  • Make sandwiches

  • Yes, they can make their own! Get unbreakable containers while they learn. They can make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and will be so proud! Introduce all kinds of sandwiches they can try. Have fun!

  • Begin to clean room

  • Make them the “captain” of their own room. Make up a paper or card that tells easy steps of cleaning their room. Start with step #1 (perhaps pick up toys) and practice for a few weeks before going on to step #2.

  • Clean glass

  • Children love spray bottles. Put each child's name on one! Using a non-toxic glass cleaner (such as Shaklee or Seventh-Generation brands) and paper towel, show them how to clean. You can let them work glass tables, or on the windows and mirrors. Don’t expect perfection but let them have fun!

  • Unload dishwasher

  • Or put dishes away — they can begin to learn about dish-cleaning and can help put dishes away. Depending on your kitchen, they can help you unload the dishwasher. Try to use unbreakable dishes and safe step-stools.

  • Personal grooming

  • By now, your child should be dressing themselves every day. Teach them how to comb their hair and scrub their nails, too. You can get them their own mirror where they can check to see that they look spit-spot!

  • Training a four-year old can be a lot of fun. Be patient while they learn and encourage them during the training. And when they’ve got it mastered, let them do it by themselves! They will be incredibly proud of themselves and rightly so.

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Merrilee Boyack is a mom of four sons, grandma to two and an attorney, author, and professional speaker.  

Website: http://www.MerrileeBoyack.com

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