Teaching kids to do things themselves

Sunday, February 10, 2013

One big lesson I learned from The Montessori's Way is to encourage independence by teaching kids to do things themselves

Maria Montessori wrote, "Don't do for your child what he can do himself. We habitually serve children; and this is not only an act of service toward them, but it is dangerous, since it tends to suffocate their useful, spontaneous activity. It requires much more time and patience to teach a child how to eat, wash, and clothe himself than it does to feed, bathe, and clothe him."

I learned that I need to take the time to show and teach them on how to do certain tasks and organize their stuffs {clothes, toy, learning materials, and eating utensils} in places where they can reach them without our help.  Below are some things that we encourage our kids {age 4 and almost 2} to do on their own:

Pick up their toys. Great article from Money Saving Mom: Instead of yelling, try helping.

Eat on their own. Starting when they are able to pick up food with their fingers then moving on to using spoon or fork. It's messy in the beginning {even 'till now} but I have no regret on letting them eat on their own as early as possible:

Grab their eating utensils and drink. I placed their eating utensils, glass, and water container at the lower drawer or shelf, where they can reach on their own.
Wash their hands. Good safety tip from our pediatrician: turn down the water temperature on the water tank that way when the kids accidentally turn on hot water their hand won't get burn.

Throw trash in the garbage bin:

Put on their clothes without our help

Play on their own. 
It's true that we need to sing, read, snuggle, and give them our undivided attention but I don't think we need to entertain them all the time.  Kids are wired with creativity and curiosity and are able to entertain themselves with almost anything. Safety note: make sure to baby proof the room and keep sharp and dangerous things away from their reach. When in doubt, keep them away from the kid - lesson I learned the hard way

Clean up: vacuum dirt {with a lightweight hand vacuum}

 mop the floor,or wipe the furniture

Be involved and "help" us:

Peel daicon or carrot

Help unloading the dishwasher:

and the grocery

Do the number No. 2 on the potty once they can sit unsupported. I shared on how we do it in detail here

Help with simple chores such as watering the plants:

Put their clean clothes in the dresser

or taking the garbage bin out:

What other thing that you encourage your kids to do it themselves?