Do you have a little person at home who is experiencing the “terrible twos” or who often tells you “I do it myself”? Those behaviours tell you that your child really wants to engage with the real experiences of life around them. Maria Montessori called them Practical Life exercises.
Actively being involved in the daily activities in your home will help your child settle quickly at school. Young children have a great need to master the tasks of daily life – tasks that might be chores to you but give your child success, independence, aid concentration and are the basis for all further learning in the Montessori curriculum.
Some suggestions to involve your child with:-
- Helping with the laundry – bringing things to the laundry basket, putting clothes in and out of the washing machine, adding soap, sorting washing
- Getting dressed and undressed – provide just as much help as necessary and provide clothing that is easy for the child to learn to master
- Help with breakfast – have a container with a scoop in it for them to serve their own cereal; add a small jug of milk on the breakfast table; setting the table
- Help with lunch – have a small amount of items where the child can serve themselves, for example, some slices of bread or rice crackers with various toppings or spread; the child may wish to help wash up
- Help with dinner – preparing vegetables (look for implements suitable for small hands) and salad; setting the table; washing up
- Getting ready for visitors – making the beds, getting a towel, tidying away toys
- Trips to the supermarket
- Chopping, grating, spreading, spooning, rolling, squeezing, pouring ……..
Not only do young kids take pleasure from these activities, these activities are also great for calming busy kids and also:
- Your child learns to take responsibility in the home
- Collaboration creates connection
- These skills require repetition to gain mastery which is great for building concentration
- Your child likes to feel a part of the family and able to contribute
- These activities involve sequences and you can build up the number of steps in the activity as their concentration grows
- They involve a lot of movement – great for refining fine motor and gross motor skills, eg, pouring water without spilling, using a sponge, pegging a wet cloth
- There are many language and maths opportunities around these activities
- Learning new skills, building independence and feeling of self-reliance