“I can do it myself!”
It is the moment you dreamed of – the time your child relies a less on you for their everyday tasks. Unfortunately, it is also the moment you begin the power struggles over who is putting on your son’s shoes and who is brushing your daughter’s hair. This can be a time-consuming and frustrating phase for parents. Luckily, with a little preparation and planning, these years can be a time of positive growth for your child and a little freedom for you.
In his book, How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way, author Tim Seldon helps parents organize their home in a way that encourages a young child’s independence while also causing the least amount of stress for the parents. The following ideas are a great place to start when preparing your home for a child who is ready to take on the world all by himself:
In the Bedroom
1. Use open storage baskets with photo labels to hold toys and clothing the child is allowed to access herself. This will help her begin to dress and play by herself. This organization will also help with clean-up each day.
2. Replace tall shelves with low shelving the child can utilize safely. Make sure your child’s books and toys are low enough for him to reach without having to ask for your assistance.
In the Kitchen
1. Allow your child to independently set the table for dinner by using a permanent marker to trace the outline of utensils, plates, and glasses on inexpensive placemats. These guides will give your child confidence to successfully complete the task alone.
2. Set up a low shelf with a container of dry food, such as Cheerios, and a small scoop along with child-sized bowls. Teach your child to serve herself snack as she pleases. Allowing her to have some say over her when she eats leads her to feel more in control of her day.
In the Bathroom
1. Teach your child to turn on and off the sink faucet by himself, adjusting the force of the water so as not to splash on the floor. This skill allows your child to feel comfortable washing his hands and brushing his teeth independently.
2. Place a small stack of washcloths and a towel next to your child’s sink. Show her how to dampen the washcloth and wipe off her face. Introducing your child to self-care sets the foundation for personal independence at an early age.
Seldon reminds parents to “minimize power struggles by giving your child meaningful levels of independence and responsibility in order to make her feel powerful and grown up.” As a parent, allowing your child to a feel a sense control over his life before age 6 is one of the most beneficial things you can do to encourage his future success in the world.
Ms. Elizabeth is our director and fully believes in providing each child an individualized education that allows freedom for creativity and imagination while still acquiring the necessary skills to be successful in the world.