When your child reaches age 5, he's probably ready to begin learning how to make his bed and, eventually, to change the sheets. Most preschoolers can remember bed-making steps and have the physical ability to tackle the job, says Chris Achenbach, an occupational therapist specializing in pediatrics, in Mechanicsburg, PA. Here's how to start:
Show how you pull up his top sheet, blanket, and coverlet, and place the pillow at the head. After a day or two, have him help you through each step. When he's adept enough, begin withdrawing help, last step first. Do your part until it's time to pull up the coverlet, then let him do it himself. The next day, help him up to the last two steps, and so on, until he's making the bed alone. As he gets stronger, he can start helping you change the sheets. Show him how to pull on the fitted sheet -- first over the diagonal corners of the mattress, then over the two other corners. Have him tuck the top sheet and then the blanket into the foot and sides of the mattress, smoothing them out before spreading the coverlet over all. Use the "sock method" to teach putting on the pillowcase: Kneel on the floor and prop the pillow against you, end up. Scrunch the case up as you would a sock and pull it over the pillow's upper end. Have your child hold the pillow and push it in while you pull down the case.