by Holly Daniel
There is nothing better than when your toddler finally decides to master potty training, brushing their own teeth or dressing. Okay, it might be a bit sad to think of your toddler growing up, but after you calm down you will remember how much of your life you will get back by every independent thing your toddler learns!
The main way your child will become independent is through practical life skills. I believe so much in practical life skills I have written an entire chapter about it in my ebook, A Montessori Inspired Life. Check it out here.
Lately, we have been working on a number of practical life skills. The older my daughter gets the more she is capable of. She will be two years old in one short month, but it seems we have already done so much! I wanted to share with you some five things we are working on at the moment that help grow her independence.
1) Food prep
This is a HUGE practical life skill. There are so so so many things you can do with food prep with a two-year-old! This is a great age for peeling eggs and oranges. The concentration level is great for this task. We have also been working with peeling carrots (supervision is necessary) and squeezing oranges to make juice!
2) Selecting clothes
While this one has not always been a huge interest with my daughter, she is slowly coming around to it. She has a much more clear understanding of what the term shorts, shirt, and undies are. If I ask her to go get her shorts, she will go get some shorts and bring them out to me. She gets to independently make her choice, which is one step closer to dressing herself independently.
3) Brushing teeth
It took some time developing this skill, and if truth be told my two-year-old is still not 100% independent of this task. Most days she does a decent enough job. There are still a few days when she is being distracted by outside things. On those days, I do have to help redirect her back to brushing her teeth; and even some days, I still have to just do it for her. I usually only do it for her if it has been a few days without her doing it properly for herself.
4) Concentrate while working/not interrupting
Like I mentioned above, when my daughter is distracted it all but ruins her concentration and it is hard for her to get back to work after any sort of interference. I try my best to set up her work areas with as little distraction as possible although it can be difficult, it is worth the effort.
5) Self-serve water and snacks
Getting rid of the need to ask you for food or drink is easy, just teach them to do it themselves. If you leave a tray of food out or even a shelf in the fridge for your toddler they will quickly learn where they can go to get their beloved snacks. They actually don’t mind eating fresh fruit and veg when they were able to get it themselves. I find my daughter would be constantly asking for snacks if I didn’t allow her to independently get some of her own I would be in an endless cycle all day long.
I hope that you and your toddler can start working on some of these ways to promote toddler independence with Montessori.
Holly Daniel is an education consultant for modern-day moms, using step by step guides to bring Montessori into more homes. Holly blogs at This Toddler Life where she shares her love for Montessori. When Holly isn’t helping other moms she’s spending time with her family. Their love of nature and travel takes them on many adventures around the world.