Your Capable Child
By Tamara Sevigny
“Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence.” –Dr. Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori Method of Teaching
Dr. Montessori recognized that understanding one’s place in the world, and being able to function as part of a community, is an important part of being independent. Children can grow up feeling empowered in their ability to make choices and do things independently. When children feel trusted by adults, they learn to trust themselves, growing to become happy and productive members of their families and communities.
Montessori educators encourage independence, even in their youngest students. In a Montessori environment children as young as toddlers can be seen putting on their own shoes, choosing work, assisting in laundry, snack preparation, and even cleaning up after themselves.
So how can families help develop independence in the home? It starts by recognizing how capable children truly are. They are able to do much more than we often realize. With some encouragement and modeling they eagerly rise to a challenge. When a child is shown how to do something, and then they are allowed to do it on their own, it boosts their self-esteem more than any amount of verbal praise ever will.
Below are some helpful tips to help prepare your home environment.
- Coat and shoe racks should be easily accessible.
- Send children to put their coats and shoes on 10 minutes before you’d like to leave.
- Leave child-friendly cleaning supplies within reach.
- Turn spills and messes into lessons on cleaning up after themselves.
- Put pre-portioned snacks on low shelves.
- Allow children to pack, or help pack their own lunches, offering pre-approved choices.
- Clothing racks and dressers should be within reach to put away clothing, or make clothing choices for the day.
- Ask for help to put away groceries, load or unload the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer.
For more information on setting up your home to be more child friendly, download our free ebook, Montessori in the Home by clicking here.