Sarah Shares- Independence at Home
Happy fall—and happy time of transitions!
In his biggest “paid” gig yet, my fifteen year old son Jack spent 4 weeks this past summer as a camp aid at the overnight camp he grew up attending. Since Jack was about 8, he has spent two weeks every summer at overnight camp, as did my daughter.
Always when my children return from being away at camp, they are different than when they left: maybe eating something they always refused to try, knowing some new music they learned about from a friend, and sometimes—shockingly—keeping themselves organized in new ways.
This August, I asked my son if he had ways he wanted to assume more responsibility at home, that he had become more used to while he was away. I asked because I’ve noticed it’s easy for me to slip back into the patterns of doing things for my kids, even though they are more than able to do more for themselves. It’s what we’re used to.
Sometimes we as parents find ourselves in a time of transition ourselves, as our children grow and change.
In this morning’s Toddler ADM classroom coffee, Lead teachers Ms. Michelle and Ms. Dominique gave us some ideas about how to “take some Montessori home.” Their biggest strategy to do so is to include your child in as many ways in the practical life tasks of the home and family. Take your child grocery shopping and let them carry a bag of apples. Count the bananas as you put them away. Put some towels at your child’s level in your house, so they are accessible to them, and in case of a spill, they can clean up themselves. Let your child bus their own dishes after dinner, as they do here at school after lunch. Your child may be eager to use a small hand broom and dustpan to clean up crumbs.
While we adults can do all of these tasks more efficiently, sharing them with our children helps them to build their skills, feel proud, and help their family with important work. And it helps us all to adjust our thinking about just what our children can do.