General Question

Leanne15's avatar

How can I get my little 6yr old sister to zip her own jacket instead of me doing it?

Asked by Leanne15 (320points) 1 week ago

My little sister is 6yrs old and I walk her to school and back home again as I go to a secondary school which is near to her primary school but each day, she comes out with her jacket in her bag, which is OK when it’s dry. When it’s raining or during winter, I nicely ask her to put on her jacket, which she does then I say to her “zip it up as well” but she says “you do it”, but I know she can do it herself but, as I’m a nice big sister, I do it but she then complains that it’s zipped too high (I zip it right up to the top).

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78 Answers

flo's avatar

If you’ve tried and tried, then she just has to experience the unpleasantness of wet clothes under the jacket.

Leanne15's avatar

The thing is, our parents hold me responsible, they say to me that I must ensure that her jacket is on and zipped when it’s wet and especially in winter when we get really cold mornings.

Leanne15's avatar

I do caravanfan.

imrainmaker's avatar

Idk..you can promise her something in return ( with your parents approval) if she starts doing it herself.

flo's avatar

@Leanne15 You have to get your parents to say to her “You are a big girl now you don’t need anyone to do things for you…”, etc, talk, otherwise she’ll never start doing things for herself.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Is it really such a big chore for you?
Little kids need those little things done for them sometimes as reassurance. Growing means taking more responsibility for oneself, but sometimes it leaves children feeling nobody cares enough to do those things for them.
See if she will make a deal, take turns, and when it is her turn, ask her to show you her comfort level for that zipper. When I was little, I didn’t like for my zipper to touch my neck because the zipper was cold.
If she sees zipping her own coat is not leaving her feeling overlooked, she will start handling it without issue.

Leanne15's avatar

Of course it’s not such a chore but she needs to do it herself at some point. We are close so I just decide to do it for her but parents think I’m being soft as I could just say no, do it yourself.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Fine. Did you read beyond my first sentence?

Leanne15's avatar

Yes Patty, I did.

flo's avatar

So, in future when she asks for x y z, (things that are not harmful to her) just say to her “Are you going to zip up your own coat?” etc.

flo's avatar

What does she do on her own? Ask her why she does those things on her own? Tell her there is no difference between them and zipping up her coat.

Leanne15's avatar

Everything apart from zipping her jacket and putting the hood up.

flo's avatar

Ok, just emphasise the importance of being a big girl, although I’m sure you’ve tried that.

Leanne15's avatar

I have but she just says, it is only zipping my jacket I’m asking you to do, it will only take a few seconds.

kritiper's avatar

Don’t do it. She’s playing, manipulating you. OR
Come down to her level. Make a deal with her. Promise her something (a special one-time deal) that she wants in exchange. (Be sure to keep your promise!)

Leanne15's avatar

Kritiper, I have said above that my parents hold me responsible for her health so they instruct me to make sure her jacket is zipped even if it means I have to do it. I’m not in favour but I can’t disobey my parents.

kritiper's avatar

Then talk to your parents about it. Go up to their level and explain the circumstance. Tell them about YOUR problem with your sister. Diplomacy is key here.

Leanne15's avatar

What do I tell them though or how should I word it?

kritiper's avatar

Be honest. Come straight out with it. Explain it, basically, just the way I said it in my last post. (I had 3 brothers and 4 sisters, so I know a little about what you’re talking about, and my parents were VERY hard to talk to.)
Talk to your parents when they’re in a good mood! Say, “Mom and Dad, there’s something I’d like to discuss with you.” And then lay it out for them.
Stand up for yourself!!!

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RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Get her a Velcro coat. Or offer her candy an award for being a big girl. I wrecked my dominate hand and I can’t tie my own shoes. I just slip on and off. Maybe I can use Velcro too. If I can find size 13 shoes with Velcro.

kritiper's avatar

When I was 6 I could dress myself, zip up my pants and tie my own shoes. And tying shoes is a lot harder that zipping up your jacket.
You can do this @Leanne15 !

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JLeslie's avatar

I think just do it for her. It’s a sweet story. When you both are adults you’ll giggle about how you always had to zip her jacket for her. I look back on things I helped my little sister with as very fond memories, I hope she does too.

My husband helps me with things I can do for myself. So what that I can do it, I like his help with certain things. It doesn’t matter if she can zip
it herself. Does she do plenty of other things for herself? It’s just this one thing she likes when you do it? It’s your routine. You zip her coat, she says it’s zipped to high. It’s part of a ritual, an interchange with you. It’s a love ritual thing. It’s cute.

mazingerz88's avatar

Pretend you’re having a hard time zipping it up and you’re messing it up and that she can do it better than you?

Leanne15's avatar

J Leslie, yes it’s just this and putting the hood up that she gets me to do.

Leanne15's avatar

Mazinger, I think she would have an idea that I’m messing about and then grass me up lol.

JLeslie's avatar

Awww, just do it.

If it’s annoying you, how about ask her why she wants you to do it when you know she can. See what she says. Her answer might be completely different than what you expect.

You could do reverse psychology. If you tell her only you can do it she might insist on doing it herself. I’m not very into that sort of game playing though. Not among sisters.

Inspired_2write's avatar

“The thing is, our parents hold ME responsible, ”
You are not the parent of this child they are and next time be ready a to take her back into the house and inform the parents that she has to be ready, zipped etc If not you will not take her.
Parents do a great disservice in making siblings parents by proxy!
Phone ahead of time , or be late so that she has to get dressed by her parents or otherwise.
Talk to a counselor in the school about the heavy RESPONSIBILITY that your parents have laid on you.Unless the parents are drunk , or incapacitated or something THEY are responsible to see that she is dressed for all kinds of weather., NOT YOU.
I have heard horror stories of adults who grew up with this weight on them all of their lives all because the parents wanted to slough off onto the other siblings so that they could sleep in or whatever. One grown man was held responsible to make sure that all his siblings
( he was the oldest ) future welfare in the way of securing them jobs etc…He died of cancer from the internal struggle.

Stache's avatar

Your parents need to step up and tell your sis to listen to you.

May not be a big deal for you @Kardamom but you are not the OP. Who are you to judge what a legit question this is? Same for you @josie.

A 6 year old can dress themselves. Some of you must not spend time with children. They aren’t toddlers.

Leanne15's avatar

Thank you Stache :). Yeah, its not easy having a sister ask you to zip her jacket when you know fine well that she can do it, Josie and Kardamom don’t see the stares I get when I am zipping my sisters jacket, she is the only one in her class that does this, every other child does their own zip up.

Pandora's avatar

I say enjoy. Soon enough the day will come when she won’t want you to do it and you will actually miss it. Because she will reach for her independence and one of the things she will want to be independent from is you. All you will have is the memories.

Patty_Melt's avatar

What is hard for me to believe is OP simply wants her opinion validated, and so many adults are being enablers.

You said yourself it isn’t everything, it is just the one thing. If it was everything, I would think she is just being lazy, but since it is this one thing, obviously she has her reasons.
The way you talk about it here, I am feeling more right about what I said to begin with. You are treating her like a chore instead of a sister, and she is fighting for your attention.
When you ask advice, the best advice is probably going to be something you don’t want to hear. If you need advice , it is because there is something you could be doing better.

snowberry's avatar

Ok, so what’s the deal with zipping up to the top? Have you asked her why she doesn’t like that?

When I was a kid, if somebody insisted on zipping something too tight, I would unzip it a bit myself. If I was in a bad mood I would unzip it completely! And you can bet I would turn it into a huge power struggle.

Unless you live in the Arctic, your sister’s health is not going to be damaged whether she is a little unzipped or maybe even a lot. It sounds to me like your parents are just a little obsessive. Okay. Maybe they are a lot obsessive.

I guess the best thing to do is just keep zipping the thing and be glad that she’s not like I was when I was a kid! Sooner or later the other kids are going to notice and they will start to tease her. I’m guessing when that happens she’ll figure it out herself.

I’m sorry this is a hassle for you but it could be worse.

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flutherother's avatar

Pretend you are having trouble doing up your own zip and get her to help you. You can then explain how difficult zips can be to fasten. She might then take to fastening her own zip to show you how clever she is.

ScienceChick's avatar

Buy two icecreams and be holding one in each of your hands when you go to pick her up. Tell her that your hands are full and can’t help, but if she puts on her jacket and zips it up on her own, you can hand her one of the icecreams. :) (that was just a little humour)

I worked with kids part time when I was putting myself through school. (aeons ago) I noticed that kids with older siblings went one of two ways, very distinctly. They either matured faster because they were trying to emulate their older sibling’s behaviour, or the older siblings were treating them like a doll and doing everything for them and holding back the development of their skills for being independent. I’ve sat in the hall way with kids for over 10 minutes to get them to dress themselves at 5 and 6 years old. They should be able to put on their shoes and zip their jackets before they start school. Schools aren’t staffed enough to help kids get dressed. You’re going to need patience and praise. Those two things will go a long way in teaching your little sister to do things for herself. When she says she can’t do it herself and tells you to do it try saying, ‘You should try yourself today. We have time. It’s ok if it takes you a bit longer. With practice, you’ll get as good as me.’ If she doesn’t get it, don’t lose your temper. Try to calm her if she gets frustrated. ‘I remember when I was learning and I’d get mad, too.’ Encourage every little try and every little progress. You might have to do it in the end, if she really loses her temper in frustration or you are out of time, but let her know it’s ok, because she tried first and she did a good job trying. Life’s successes are built on trying and failing until we get it right. Give her time to try herself and make it a positive experience. I promise, when she starts doing it herself, she is going to feel so good about it and you can praise her successes and attempts to your mom and dad.

chyna's avatar

^What a kind, thoughtful answer.

janbb's avatar

@ScienceChick ‘s ideas are good. Another way might be to make a game out of it. “I’ll bet you can’t zip your jacket and put up your hood by the time I count to three.” Or “I’ll bet you can’t zip your jacket by the time we get to the corner.” Kids love playing games like that. Or “How about I’ll get it started and you do the rest of it?”

Another thought is that with a 6 year old you should be able to have a conversation about why it’s important to you and your parents that she do it.

si3tech's avatar

I’d zip it up and adjust it down a bit to see if that’s okay. You are so fortunate to have a little sister who looks up to you! Count your blessings.

Leanne15's avatar

Si3tech, we are really close :), everytime we are out walking anywhere, its my hand she takes and on many occassions, she will come up on my knee or ask for hugs/cuddles plus its me who baths her and reads to her before tucking her into bed. So sweet eh :).

Dutchess_III's avatar

Zippers can be pretty tricky. Just keep doing it for her until she gets the hang of it herself. It’s only a few seconds of your time.

Leanne15's avatar

Dutchess, she can do it herself, that is the problem but I don’t mind doing it once in a while.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well…gosh. She won’t be 6 for very long. Trust me. She won’t be asking you to do her zipper when she’s 16. You will miss her.
Maybe take baby steps…ask her to do YOU a favor, and just get it started. That’s really the hardest part, anyway. Do that for a few times and see where it goes.

Leanne15's avatar

I have sat her down on my knee and asked her why she likes me to do it for her, whilst also explaining that I really don’t mind doing it, I’m just asking her to tell me why, her response was just “I like when you do it because it means that I don’t have to worry about doing it or if I forget because I know you won’t” she then went on to say “I will get you doing it until I am 12”.

ScienceChick's avatar

Awwww…... I miss working with little ones…....

Leanne15's avatar

Would you zip their jackets though @ScoenceChick lol?

ScienceChick's avatar

I dressed, fed, diapered and wiped the noses of hundreds of kids from 1 to 6 years old. But it was a means to and end, not a career choice, but I did admire the ones that worked there full time.

JLeslie's avatar

So sweet. I want to zip her jacket for her.

I have all sorts of memories with my sister when we were little in my head now. I thought she was the cutest thing. We were just 2.5 years apart.

Leanne15's avatar

@JLeslie, yeah it’s great having a younger sister eh :). Me and mine are really close.

Leanne15's avatar

With the cold weather only a month away, my mom wants me to keep trying to get advice because she is not wamting sisters teachers to ask her every single day that she is at school to zip up when out for recess etc.

snowberry's avatar

I guess I don’t get it. That’s something a teacher is trained to handle. Let the teacher deal with it, and see what happens.

On second thought, I think your folks ARE obsessing. Seriously.

Leanne15's avatar

@Snowberry, they just want to make sure she is kept warm during cold weather.

snowberry's avatar

Right. A normal teacher knows that’s necessary for 6 year olds. They know that at this age most children will need guidance in keeping bundled up in cold weather. It’s part of their job!

Is an underlying medical condition that has your folks extra concerned for her health?

Leanne15's avatar

Yeah, she is prone to getting colds or the flu during the winter.

chyna's avatar

Most kids are prone to colds and flu. Your family does seem obsessed with zipping up coats.
I’m sure if your sister gets cold, she will learn pretty fast how to zip up.

Leanne15's avatar

As @Stache said above, it may not be a big deal to you guys or to you it may seem that we are being obbsessive but try and see it from our point of view! We may have valid reasons for wanting it zipped otherwise we probably let her leave it unzipped. And as I said above, our reason is the cold tempatures we get plus all the snow.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Is the child unable to tell when she is cold, and does she recognize that wearing a coat makes her warmer? When I had the daycare about 3 of the kids walked to school together. One kid, about 7, was adamant that he wasn’t going to wear his coat that day. It was cold and snowing. He had geared up for battle over his coat. Was he ever shocked when I said, “That’s fine. But you do have to carry it with you.” He looked at me like I’d grown another head!
I watched him through the peep hole. He had his coat on by the time he finished crossing the next door neighbor’s drive way.

Leanne15's avatar

Yes @Dutchess_III, she is unable to tell when she is cold, she could be visibly shivering and her hands be frozen yet she still would not say she is cold.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Does she have some learning disabilities? If so, that puts everything in a whole different light.

snowberry's avatar

“She is unable to tell when she is cold, she could be visibly shivering and her hands be frozen yet she still would not say she is cold.”

This is a valid medical concern! You need to go to both the teacher and the school nurse, and make certain that they understand there is need for special care with your sister. At some point there may be a diagnosis, but until then everybody must be extra vigilant!

Leanne15's avatar

In what way is that a medical condition :O?

Dutchess_III's avatar

It is an instinct to recognize when you’re cold, and it’s an instinct to cover up too. Apparently she is lacking this instinct. It’s the kind of problem you would have if she never recognized when she was hungry or didn’t feel pain.

JLeslie's avatar

Children stay out too long in the cold all the time. They lose fingers to frostbite in extreme instances. Children will keep playing in the snow to stay in the fun rather than go inside even when they are extremely cold. They don’t feel the cold the same way adults do, they aren’t reliable to gauge how cold they are.

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