Dr. Maria Montessori developed the Montessori method of education which emphasizes mainly on the development of the “whole” child – physical, social, emotional, cognitive.
She gave a term “absorbent mind”, according to which, a child learns and develops skills much more from the stimuli received from the environment as compared to the active training or teaching. So the main focus is to create an environment to help and allow a child in developing independence.
Hereby, I am listing a few practices that should be a part of the daily routine and the baby should be encouraged to do on his own. Better is to “practice rather than teach”.
- Morning Routines – The toddler should be able to Brush, Gargle, use Toilet, take Bath on his own. This doesn’t mean to say he should do “all by himself”, but at least have a fair idea about the process.
Like i said, Do It Yourself and they will follow. I used to hand my babay his toothbrush and take mine and start brushing my teeth in front of him and he gradually started copying. Though I have to give a finishing touch, but he knows the concept of cleaning teeth, tongue, gargling, washing hands, use soap and shampoo.
2. Dress himself and comb his hair – Trust me, since the time my toddler learnt to wear his pajamas, it has become his favorite activity and changes his pjs around 4-5 times a day (not kidding). The best way is to show them “how to do”. Let them “self-correct” themselves. Darsh tells himself – WRONG – when he puts both legs in one arm; and enjoys trying and wearing it again and again till he gets it right and would declare “CORRECT” with a very proud tone.
He himself learnt how to take out his tee and unbutton shirt. He loves to comb his hair, especially when the comb is mom’s (LOL); and call out to himself – VERY GOOOD.
3. Feeding and putting dishes in sink – Babies love to explore food and usually by the age of 2 years, they are mostly capable of self-feeding, if given opportunity. My boy enjoys food more when he eats on his own and started copying us in using forks, spoons, glasses. He has been practicing since long, and is quite good now.
(Still sometimes hand is better LOL))
He himself started putting dishes in the sink after he finishes, because mom and dad do it.
4. Help in daily Chores – Saying this doesn’t mean to encourage “child labor” or force your little one to do household chores. The purpose is to teach “life skills”. Our main focus is to make baby “be able to” sustain himself, be independent, be more practical in life.
They can help in sweeping, putting dishes away, putting clothes in washing machine, help in drying clothes, keeping his dried clothes in cupboard, emptying dishwasher, etc. Believe me, my toddlers simply enjoys doing these things and himself volunteers to help – even though not asked.
And he simply loves to say himself – THANK YOU SO MUCH – and claps for himself (“wink”)
5. Put toys, books, shoes etc. at proper place – This is important as to make them understand that every thing has a designated place and is supposed to be put back after use. Of course you can’t force or compel a toddler to do anything if he doesn’t want to do (simply CANNOT) and you will find yourself picking up the stuff for 90% of the times, but like I mentioned – “practice rather than teach’. They inculcate these habits eventually.
6. Find missing shoes – You love to help your baby. Agreed! But let them help themselves too. Let him search for his shoes himself. Guide him with questions giving him/ her leads instead of simply putting them in his hands. And they love the “exploring game” and it gives them a sense of TREASURE HUNT!!
7. Carry his little bag when going out – Do develop the sense of taking your own responsibilities. Taking care of your stuff is more important and to know “what is in your bag’.
We love carrying mumma’s bag too.
These little expressions of Pride, Independence, Sense of achievement, Responsible, Trying till they achieve; are very important for their overall development as an Individual; and will not be achieved through just plain bookish knowledge or by knowing numbers, facts, rhymes etc.
PS: Simply sharing with you my personal experiences and I am just a mother (like you) trying and learning myself.
Have a fruitful day!