Help me learn to do it by myself!

It is through his education that the child starts his social life. The goal of education is to make him independent. During the first years of his life, the child is completely dependent on his parents. But very quickly he will interact with the world around him and this is how he will start to develop. The adult will be his role model and he will try to imitate his actions and reactions. This is why, the child will quickly have to do many activities on his own just like adults do. The Montessori concept teaches you how to meet his needs and prepare him to face the world.

The term Montesorri comes from Maria Montessori. An Italian doctor and teacher, she studied children and their development for several years. This is how this philosophy was born. A philosophy that tries to exploit the child’s potential by developing his autonomy and helps him develop his capacities by himself. In order to do this, it is important to change the way you see him and to give him the means to be able to do things by himself. This means give him tools that are adapted to his size and his strength so that he can manipulate them, experiment and improve over time. If for example, we want to familiarise the child with the way we transfer a liquid from one container to another: we need to be sure that we are using tools that he can use in an optimal way. Using a small glass for example instead of a big vase and 50cl of water rather than a liter. In conclusion, with this method the child will be able to learn and evolve in a safe and secure environment. This environment should therefore be adapted to his age, size and strength. The child will thus be constantly learning, evolving, becoming autonomous and thus this way independent from an adult.

Being by his side while he is experimenting is also very important, because he will learn better with the help of an adult. It is good to give him space and make as he wishes for him to learn the result of his actions, then show him the “right” method and encourage him. Here “help me do it on my own” is not the same as “teach me how to do it by myself”. In fact “help him” implies guiding your child, being by his side in order to help him, whereas “teach me” refers to teaching the child to be independent from the parent. The child only receives the knowledge of the adult which does not go along with the idea of an egalitarian relationship. On the other hand, if you are by his side to guide him, the child will experience things by himself and he will make mistakes that will be useful for him all throughout his learning experience.

The child arrives like a blank sheet of paper to this world, in which he has to find a place. He has to learn to live alone and with others. He has to get used to this new world. In order to succeed in this long process, the child needs his parents. The parent is therefore the initiator since it is him who gives him life. Then at school, the teacher becomes a good support for him. The adult is therefore a guide all throughout the child’s learning period. But when the adult teaches the child absolute truths which he can neither verify nor contradict, then his way to autonomy disappears gradually. It is essential that the child learns by himself. This way, he will become an adult capable of learning on his own without the need to systematically resort to others for guidance. He will therefore be autonomous. But in order to do that, his adult guidance will have to incite him to play and to discover the world that surrounds him. The child will have to regulate his activities himself, set his own limits and become aware of the possibilities open to him.

Max & Lea’s 5 tips 

Set the example
This is something we recommend often at Max & Lea whatever the subject, and it is in fact something essential. Children learn from their parents, it is important therefore to show him the way he should act and react. Always wanting to imitate the adult, he will naturally imitate all the positive actions. But he will also imitate the bad behavior that he sees. This is why setting a good example is necessary. When this is not respected by the parent (getting mad or swearing for example) It is essential to explain that it was a mistake and why this behavior is bad and it should not be imitated. Apologizing for one’s own behavior to your child is not a sign of weakness but a way to teach him to apologize himself.

Encouraging and Caring
Encouraging your child to move forward. Congratulating him regularly encourages him to try and improve. A caring behavior will help your child to try new experiences and to develop his initiative. At Max & Lea we encourage this kind of behavior. You have to let your child make his own mistakes, encourage him when he is discovering by himself and congratulate him when he succeeds on his own.

Trust him
A child will develop positively when he feels his parents trust him. Just like he can feel the doubt in your words and your actions. Trusting him, means letting him do things on his own. He needs to learn from his experiences.

Listen to his questions
Listen and answer! Discovering the world that surrounds him generates a lot of questions for the child and who better than the parent to help him understand. “Why is the sky blue?” or “Why is water wet?” There are many questions that are harder to answer than they seem. Not everybody has a scientific answer for all those questions. However it is important to give him an answer and above all that he feels that you are willing to help him.

Different experiences
Finally our last tip: Make him discover and experience activities so that they interact with as many elements as possible. Outdoor activities, coloring, playing etc are all fun and entertaining activities and necessary for him to develop his experience. The list of activities is endless, if you lack inspiration ask your relatives or friends or take a look on the internet.
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