TYPICAL DEVELOPMENT OF BATHING AND GROOMING SKILLS

It is important to remember that all children develop at different rates. Below are some general guidelines for how most children develop bathing and grooming skills, as well as some of the reasons that parents might ask for help when it comes to bathing and grooming.


Between 1 and 2 years of age, your child may:

  • Enjoy bathtime

  • Want to help with washing her face, hands, and body parts

  • Resist grooming activities, such as having his face washed or teeth brushed


Between 2 and 3 years of age, your child may:

  • Help with washing himself in the tub

  • Wipe her own face with a cloth

  • Wash his hands at the sink with some help

  • Help with brushing teeth

  • Resist grooming activities, such as toothbrushing, face washing, nail cutting


Between 3 and 4 years of age, your child may:

  • Wash herself in the tub with supervision (except washing hair)

  • Wash his hands and face at the sink by himself

  • Brush his teeth, but need help doing a good job

  • Help with brushing hair

  • Wipe her own nose

  • Resist grooming activities, such as nail cutting, face/hair washing, toothbrushing


Between 5 and 6 years of age, your child may:

  • Need supervision only for washing and tooth brushing (with reminders)

  • Bathe himself with help to fill the tub and wash hair, and for safety


Between 7 and 9 years of age, your child may:

  • Be able to do all bathing and grooming by herself, with some reminders


By 10 years of age, your child may:

  • Be more interested in how she looks, and take more care with grooming activities

  • Begin to shower daily

  • Begin to use deodorant

  • Begin to show interest in makeup (girls) in the early teen years


When to Ask for Help

You may want to ask for help from an occupational therapist when:

  • Your child has physical problems, making it hard for him to move his body for bathing or grooming

  • Your child refuses to take part in grooming routines, or becomes extremely upset when you try to do grooming activities