Many people around the world try to apply the Montessori approach at home to foster independence in their children. The desire to foster independence in our children is on our minds more recently as many of us are spending significant time at home with our children. Obviously, the ability for our children to do things on their own will come with age. However, there are a few things we can do in our home to help foster independence from early on in their development.
THINK ACCESSIBILITY: As you are desiging an environment that fosters independence, one of the most important things to consider is, “Does the space allow for children to complete tasks independently?”Consider adding child sized furniture such as a work/snack table that is not only easily accessible, but also comfortable for them to stay engaged in whatever they are doing. Have all the supplies they need to complete a task at their level so they can reach them without any help from you. Add a full length mirror in their room so they can see themselves for self care activities. Consider storage solutions such as low hanging shelves and hooks so that they can put things away independently. If you want your children to do anything independently, all the required tools need to be easily accessible to them.
CREATE “YES” SPACES: With increased independence, parents often times worry about safety or their children getting into things that they shouldn’t be using. Make sure you child proof the home adequately to allow specific areas that are safe for the children to work freely and independently. Can you create a play space (an entire room, or a corner blocked off by a gate) that does not have high furniture or hazardous/fragile things so that your children can go and play without close supervision? This will encourage your child to explore their environment and foster their curiosity. It can also help you in the moments when you just need a little time to yourself (bathroom break, anyone?). Reserve the lower storage spaces in the kitchen, bathroom, etc for things that they need and keep other things that you don’t want them to touch out of those dedicated spaces so that a childproof lock is not required. When there are spaces that are solely dedicated to your children, it is easier to teach them to have pride in their things and spaces and help keep things tidy.
ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS: Decluttering will not only make your life easier (and increase the value of your home!), but it can actually help your children focus on the task at hand. Consider rotating toys, books, etc in and out of thier space based on your childrens’ interest. This will help them with making the choice of what to do a lot easier, but also help them stay engaged as there are less distractions. Having only the things that they need for any particular task will make it easier to complete. On a similar note, it is important to have a space for everything and everything in its place so things are easier to find and put away.
There are many ways to foster independence in your children. These are just some of the ways you can reimagine your home to make this a bit easier. Whenever a child asks you for help with something, look for ways that you can set up the home for the child to do that task (or part of it) independently the next time around. Teaching your children independence requires a lot of patience, but if you are willing to give your children the time to do things on their own, you’ll be amazed at what they can accomplish.
This article was part of our September newsletter. To read our entire newsletter and see the latest real estate update and Soberay Family update, click below.