By Christina Clemer
One thing I love about Montessori is that it encourages even very young children to help care for the classroom / home. This is called “Practical Life” in Montessori classrooms, and is considered just as important as academics (check out my friend Natalie’s post about Practical Life here!)
Many people think that children should start helping when they’re five or six, but the thing is, they are not always as willing at that time. Why not catch children when they want so very badly to be doing everything we’re doing?
Most toddlers very much want to help. Is it actually helpful? Well no, not always, but it is so, so worth it. Allowing your toddler to help gives them purposeful work, which builds concentration and self-confidence.
Allowing your toddler to help gives them purposeful work, which builds concentration and self-confidence.
It also shows them that they are valued members of the community. If you help your little one form the habit of helping very early on, he’s much more likely to be willing to help when he’s older.
Every child is different, but here are three things my 16-month-old currently loves helping with.
Unloading the Dishwasher
This is probably his favorite household task right now. Before he helps, I make sure the dishes aren’t too hot and I take out all of the knives / anything sharp. He then hands me one thing at a time and I put it away. He unloads pertty much the whole lower level and some of the top level (he’s very tall).
Similarly, he loves helping unload grocery bags and the washing machine.