Practical life skills

When children are young, they want to do everything they see you doing at home, and although it may seem like it takes up our time, it is important to take advantage of the child’s innate curiosity to learn and imitate. It is incredible what a child can do, and for this, I encourage you to observe Montessori preschool. I discovered it at the Montessori where my children attended. There they had fun while cleaning the floor, washing their plates and glasses, cleaning the tables, taking care of their plants and other activities that they were taught. It is what they call practical life lessons. In school, they put on their shoes, changed themselves, took care of their backpacks, their food, and they knew where to find everything. The room is set up for them, and motivation and repetition take care of the rest.

At home we did too much for them. I learned quickly what they were capable of. All the practical life lessons could be done at home too. It was a matter of understanding the importance, planning, and teaching them little by little.  For young children it is fun and entertaining, and even if in the short term it may seem like more work that help, in just a few years you will see the results.

When children are older, they no longer have much interest in learning and imitating what you are doing at home. That is when I get complains from parents who are frustrated to see that their children don’t help them, that their rooms are chaos… I invite them to reflect: how much time have you dedicated in the past ten years or so to instilling in them those habits that you would like them to have today?  We can not demand what we have not taught them with patience.  In my experience, the focus of many parents is on the one hand on making life easy and fun for their children, and on the other on academics and extracurricular achievements. Learning to take care of themselves, their rooms, their bathrooms, and helping around the house doesn’t seem so important. But it is, and a lot. It makes them feel useful, prepares them for life, and fosters a spirit of collaboration and gratitude in the family

Teaching them to be active around the house is also a very effective antidote to excessive screen time.

Let’s keep them busy!  


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