Montessori-Inspired Helpful Chores Your Toddler Can Do
Montessori schools use a different approach when it comes to teaching children. Chores are not assigned to kids that attend Montessori schools, however, each child learns that they are responsible for cleaning up after themselves and children also help with cleaning, gardening, washing and drying the areas that they work in. Some of these areas are the table and chairs they sit at or work at.
They consider these tasks practical life skills and the reason for this is the Montessori method of teaching.
These skills are considered just as critical as English and math for young kids. Teaching small toddlers these kinds of skills helps them build their concentration, helps them learn how to be independent. When kids become responsible for this also helps them with the development of their large and small motor skills.
When children are taught how to take care of their environment around them, kids start to develop a sense of purpose which in turns builds confidence and self-esteem. Kids love to help as well because they like to feel important.
When children learn practical life activities, they will come home and show their parents what they learned and this also helps parents because there is an abundance of chores at home. Learning practical life skills at a young age gets kids ready to take on bigger tasks as they get older. Eventually, when they become adults, they will have mastered all of the activities and skills they need to survive. So next time your kids are being rambunctious, remind them to work on some of their practical life skills and give one a broom to sweep and let the others help fold the wash.
Toddler chores that are Montessori inspired can start with sweeping. Most young kids can sweep the floor and do a good job. They should know how to easily use a dustpan as well. You can teach them and if your child isn’t ready yet for the dustpan, it’s still easy enough for toddlers to sweep leaves off the driveway. This is a great way for them to start. Once they know how to sweep, you can try the vacuum with them. They can also start trying to mop by using a simple dust mop.
Folding laundry is another good practical skill for toddlers to start on. Some articles of clothing might be overwhelming so have them match socks, or fold the smaller clothing including their clothes.
Most young kids are good at setting the table once you teach them how. Make sure everything is in their reach. You can start by taking everything off a small kitchen shelf and have your child put everything back on the shelf in the right order, so this will be easier for them the next time when it comes to setting the table again.
Another great chore is teaching them how to feed their pets. Kids love animals and if you have big Tupperware bins, put a scoop in them and give your child this chore. When your child is very young, then you should make a pile of enough food for your toddler so your pet doesn’t get overfed. Once your child understands the correct amount of food to give the pet, they will be on task.
Raking leaves is a good large motor activity for children to practice and it helps them burn off some energy. You can purchase child-sized rakes and also shovels for your children to help. In addition, you can also purchase child-sized sprinkling cans so they can help you with some gardening. The reason you should purchase child-sized tools is so your child doesn’t fail at the job you assigned them.
Window washing is another great skill to teach small children. Just get a small rag and fill up a small spray bottle with some vinegar. You can also buy a small squeegee that is made for car windows. This is the best size and these can be bought at any hardware store. You can then show your child how to spray correctly and dry the windows. They can even do the mirrors in the house.
Kids should also know how to keep their clothes clean and in good shape by washing their toys on a regular basis. Old toothbrushes work well for the small and hard to get spots. Otherwise, you get them a small brush. A bucket of water and some soap is needed and also something to cover their clothes to keep them dry. All toddlers know how to scrub and with the right tools, they can clean anything. They can even clean their outdoor picnic tables and bikes and also their smaller toys.
Kids should also know to make their lunches at a young age. You can let them pick what kind of fruit they want in their lunches and teach them how to make their sandwiches. Have them fill up some small tupperware cups with some pretzels or raisins. They can also pick the main ingredient for their lunch. Let your child wash their fruits and vegetables. This is a good task to let your child help you with if they are in that picky eater stage. Don’t overwhelm them so if you think you are, just cut back the number of days and have them help you a few times a week. Eventually, they will get the hang of making their lunch as they fine-tune their motor skills.
Many kids love to sharpen their pens and crayons to keep them from becoming dull. Small and large pencil sharpeners have an area that opens and closes to empty the shavings. Your child can learn this task as well. Keep your child over the garbage pail so there isn’t a mess of shavings all over the floor.
These tasks are just beginner tasks and eventually, you will understand what types of skills your child is good at and interested in doing. You can assist your child with some chores and this will help encourage them to become more independent, especially if you have a toddler and you are pregnant. You will need some time to yourself too. This also builds their confidence and pride in what they can accomplish around their home.
Children lose interest fast so stay organized and have everything ready for them to complete the chores they are given. Otherwise, they will become distracted because it’s taking mom or dad too long to get everything together. Don’t tell them what you are doing until you have all of the supplies ready to go. If you are going to ask them to clean something, make sure everything is in the right place so they know what to do right away. Remember don’t forget about purchasing the child-sized tools so they can help you with their skills.
Montessori believes that people need to invite a child to take part in their lesson. The goal is to reach out to them and get them interested in participating in the goal or lesson. A child never wants to feel forced or they might feel they are being punished. The end result of that feeling is the child will not want to participate. Don’t make this project a choice either, you can just ask them for their help because a certain area needs to be cleaned. Ask the child to bring the right tool for the task.
You can show the child briefly how to start and finish the task and tell them that they can do a much better job if there is no talking so they can concentrate on the task. Montessori refers to these types of toddler inspired tasks as “ silent tasks”.
When you have taught the child what you expect, don’t step in and do this for them. Let them do it themselves and you can always redo this yourself when they are not looking. Nothing is really perfect the first time a toddler tries something new but the child did what they were taught and it’s important that you got the child to help you. They all get it right someday.