Whether or not your child attends a Montessori school, there are still ways in which you can support your child's development at home. When we bring Montessori principles into the home, it helps the child gain independence and fulfil their need for order.
I have created a simple chart that shows how Practical Life is already incorporated into our daily routines and how we can support our children to take part in the home.
Children are a huge part of the home life and want to take part in all that the adults do. What may seem like mundane tasks for us are actually exciting to the child. They want to learn, so let's teach them.
One of the most important things to remember with Montessori at home is to always model. Children are very observant. If they watch you brush your teeth every day, they are more likely to join in on the routine. If they notice that you set the table every night then clean it with a washcloth after dinner, they may start to show interest too.
It can be easier to just do the tasks yourself since adults will get the job done quickly and "right". But the child isn't focused on doing the tasks correctly. They want to be a part of the work. Plus, if you already modeled the tasks, you don't have to give a big presentation to the child. They just do the work and simply improve with time while building a habit.
Remember, we don't need to correct the child in the moment as they are learning. Just continue to model, thank your child for helping and give specific praise so they know what they are doing right.
For example, your child spills a little bit of juice on the floor. You grab a rag but they want to help clean it up. Hand the rag to your child and quietly watch them as move the rag around on the floor, possibly missing most of the juice. They may hand you the rag, proud of the work they have done but there is still a bit left. You can say, "thank you for helping and it looks like you got most of the juice off of the floor. There is a little bit left over here. Would you like to clean it or would you like me to clean it?"
At the end of the day, children want to be useful and contributing members of the family. Practical Life is a way to give the opportunity for the child to feel just as independent and important as everyone else.
The importance of the work does not bother children, they are satisfied when they have done as much as they can and see that they are not excluded from an opportunity to exert themselves in their surroundings. The most admired work is that which offers the greatest opportunities to each one.
Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child