At school, the children are independent little humans, each carrying their own bags, washing their dishes, preparing snacks for their friends as well as helping their friends when needed. Watching a four year old helping a three year old with their buckle shoes is something too precious for words.
How are parents able to help their children become more independent at home is often a question we get asked as teachers. This means that they can do everything they do at school at home too. A big statement we live by is “help me to help myself”.
This applies where the child is capable, however they just need the time to be able to finish the task at hand. Giving your child ample amounts of time to complete their task is key as they work slower than adults — they have only been
doing this for 3 years!
The prepared environment can happen at home too: organising your child’s play area around them, giving your child space in the kitchen for their own plates and cups, and having a working area for them to help prepare their meals. Encouraging children to pack away after themselves, only taking one activity out at a time and packing it away before taking the next one out. On that note they would need a shelf their height for their activities to live.
Remember to teach things step by step and to give your child the ability to learn it over some time — they didn’t learn to prepare their friend’s snacks in one day. We want the children to be successful and in order for this to happen, we need to set them up for success by supplying them with the foundations.
Lastly, keep in mind that when learning happens, so does mess! Things are going to break, spills are going to happen but this is all a part of the process. We learn to clean the spills and to move on — these are accidents which lead to a new learning curve.
We love independence and as Maria Montessori said, “Help me to do it alone.”