Independence

How to Offer Real Choice...Even When There Isn't One.

How to Offer Real Choice...Even When There Isn't One.

Choice is essential to developing independence, avoiding power struggles, building self-confidence, and autonomy.  But it's more than merely offering the power to choose; real choice involves creating a situation where choosing is actually possible.  

Here's how it's done.

Show. Don't Tell.

Show. Don't Tell.

Show and tell might be helpful for sharing at circle time, but when it comes to young children the show is much more important than the tell.   I bet you've already experienced the power of showing your child something, like that time your toddler said "that phrase you don't say in public" when she dropped her plate.  

Here's how you can purposefully show a skill to your young child, step by step. 

The sweet spot for teaching life skills

The sweet spot for teaching life skills

It's there, right on the edge of their current abilities that children are able to focus, practice, and eventually master a skill. (The same is true for adults btw). These activities offer just the right amount of challenge and interest for young children, and in turn build independence, grit, and real skills. Here's a few examples by age to get you started.

Is it practice, or is it a goal?

Is it practice, or is it a goal?

Children need lots of time to practice individual skills before they can be successful at meeting a goal on their own. We take a lot of these skills for granted as adults, and it's easy to forget that young children need to practice skills before they are ready to take on a larger goal.  But what's the difference between practice and goals? 

The Importance of Life Skills

The Importance of Life Skills

In Montessori, we use life skills (practical life) to build functional and mental independence, confidence, and responsibility.  These “soft skills” aren’t a joke or fluff. They are absolutely necessary for becoming a responsible adult who can take care of herself and others.  Here's how you can do this at home: