Hello Grace,It's been a while since I've commented on 1 of UR questions. Since this involves an accomplishment I've met quite some time ago, I can comfortably offer a reasonably acceptable response,
Every responsible,dedicated parent knows their own child best & from that awareness of the child's aptitudes, behavior & cooperation, comes the natural process of teaching/guiding each child.
Every single moment is an opportunity 4 our children 2 learn, grow, try & succeed or fail & try again. Helping a child become familiar w/ his/her needs & their environment, guides them toward the ways & means 2 fulfill those needs.
Judging a child's motor skills, reflexes, intelligence level & ability 2 communicate (verbally & non-verbally) will indicate how much & how far a parent can encourage their child 2 "do 4 themselves." To specify, when a child can hold a spoon, it is time 2 allow that child 2 feed him/her self..(cleaning the mess comes later.) Can they hold a toothbrush? Brush their own teeth...in time, we teach them the health reasons "why" we brush our teeth..picking up their own toys & putting them away, they learn eventually the reasons R: responsibility, respect 4 belongings, safety precautions 2 avoid accidents, ...&this goes 4 each & every daily activity of living, until a child comes 2B more agile, punctual, independent & self-sufficient.
Soon, these practices become 2nd nature 4 both child & parent & you learn together as the child grows, the activities become more complex. A vital part of all of this is allowing the child freedom 2 experiment w/ completing a task in their own way....even when it's not perfect. A parent needs 2 answer all questions as simply & clearly as possible. Speaking of questions: By the time a child is 4 or 5 & fully able 2 communicate verbally, parents can offer a child's question right back 2 them. Example?
"Mommy, should I put my pants inside my boots or outside?" (sounds like a simple thing, but this teaches independent decision-making) Mother: "Which do U think would B better? more comfortable? warmer? What would U like to do about this?"
Well, I think I've made my case..at least 2 age 5....from there it's just more of the same with the changing activities, questions & moments that coincide w/ a growing child.
If U have done UR job well, by the time they're off 2 college or trade school or Broadway Stage They ARE good 2 go ~~to include SELF-MOTIVATION! (and BOY, am I glad it's all behind me!!) Paula