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Teaching your child to wipe their own bum can be a stressful thing for both a parent and child. Ideally, children would be able to wipe their own bums from the moment they are potty trained. But it actually takes a few years for children to gain the fine motor skills to do so. When should you teach your child to wipe their own bum?
Children should preferably be taught to wipe their own bums by the age of 4. This is when most will enter kindergarten and teachers will not be allowed to wipe your child’s bottom unless they have a disability. Some children may take longer, and some will learn much earlier but try aiming for age 4.
How old should a child be to wipe their own bottom?
You should try to teach your child to wipe their own bottom by the age of 4 because this is when most children go to kindergarten. There are exceptions to this case. Perhaps your child has an early start at kindergarten. If this is the case, you can aim to get them to wipe their own bum around 3, but it can be a bit more challenging. At kindergarten, carers are very understanding of the different capabilities of children and the stages of learning. But it is best to aim for your child to have this skill by the time they start kindergarten. This makes their lives a lot easier because they can be more independent and not worry about making a mess.
Teaching them early on will also make your life simpler. You can pick your child up from school and not be stressed that there might be a messy surprise waiting. This is a really important step for children in growing up, but some will take longer than others. It can be difficult and frustrating at times, especially when you’re trying to work from home with children who need this kind of help. But it’s important to be patient with your child while supporting them to develop this motor skill and habit.
Why does my child not wipe herself?
Some children don’t wipe themselves because they physically can’t. Lots of children take a bit of time to develop fine motor skills needed to wipe their bum. They also struggle to figure out how to reach to wipe there, which could be why they aren’t doing it yet.
Others take a lot longer to develop mentally and don’t understand the importance of wiping their bum for hygiene purposes. They can think that it’s a disgusting and smelly task that they’d rather not deal with.
Some children find their parents wiping their bums comforting and can be hesitant for that to change because it is familiar to them. This is because independence can be scary for children. It’s also why you should help your child learn to wipe themselves in a supportive and encouraging manner.
Should a 6-year-old be able to wipe themselves?
While the most common aim is for a child to be able to wipe themselves by the age of 4, some children do really struggle for q few years. If your child is 6 and still not able to wipe themselves, try not to panic or get too frustrated. Even if you are doing everything you can to teach your 6-year-old to wipe themselves properly, some just won’t be able to grasp the concept until they’re much older. Just be sure to keep talking to your child about how wiping is like using antibacterial hand sanitiser to keep the body safe from disease.
This is a long process that can take years to master. Some children don’t fully learn this skill until they’re around 8. It can be helpful to talk to friends or family that your trust to see their experiences with wiping.
While it’s not good to compare yourself to other parents, it will be nice to hear other perspectives. Especially those that validate your experience and have shared similar struggles with teaching their children to wipe. They may even be able to offer useful tips and tricks they used. Just know that you’re not alone and this doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent!
How do I get my 5-year-old to wipe himself?
There are lots of methods you can use to help your child wipe themselves. To begin, you need to fully clarify why wiping is an important task so that they can understand the concept. This includes explaining nasty germs, smells, and discomfort which alone should act as an incentive for many children to wipe their own bums.
Making wiping a positive experience will also help. If they are resisting, you could try giving them little rewards for when they wipe properly to make wiping a fun activity. This could include giving them small monetary rewards, letting them play with their favourite toys, making a wiping song, or giving them tasty snacks afterwards.
Try different rewards to see what your child is most receptive to, but don’t spoil your children with too many toy rewards. You want to encourage the wiping behaviour in a way that doesn’t solely rely on rewards. They are just a good booster. You’ll get there in the end.
7-year-old refuses to wipe bottom
As explained above, some children will flat out refuse to wipe their own bottom and much prefer when their parent does it. The key to helping children like this is being consistent in your methods. If they know that you’re going to wipe their bums for them eventually, then they will keep expecting you to do it.
Be persistent and act as their coach in the bathroom, giving them clear instructions as they wipe and helping them to practice. Your child will eventually understand that it is their job. Try not to show your frustration or impatience as a parent. This can stunt their skill-building abilities and will only make their wiping experiences less pleasant.
At the end of the day, every child will take a different amount of time to learn how to wipe properly. Keep trying and your child will eventually get the hang of things. If you’re having trouble teaching them, don’t panic. If you feel like you aren’t making any progress at all, you could consult a child doctor and see if they can help at all.
Can teachers wipe bottoms?
Generally, teachers will not wipe your child’s bottom for them. Often it is against the school policy to avoid child abuse and exploitation. It does sound horrible to say, but the reality is that this access to children has unfortunately had bad results in the past. To keep your child safe, these policies are put in place, which means your child will need to learn to wipe themselves.
If teachers are allowed to assist children in school bathrooms, the other factor is the time this would take up. What goes for one often goes for all which means every child would need to be helped. This would take away valuable teaching time. Plus, it’s not their child. They are there for educational purposes.
There are some schools and teachers that specialise in teaching children with special educational needs (SEN) that are trained to help. This is especially the case for physically disabled students who cannot wipe for themselves. If your child needs extra help when going to the toilet due to disability (mental or physical), make sure to discuss this with the school. This way you ensure that your child is getting the care they need.
Caring for your child in the right way can be daunting. As a parent, you gain so many questions about teaching a child common sense and finding time for your own exercise when you have kids. For more parenting, health and wellness advice, check out our Vidar blog.