Raising Independent Spirits

Teaching Independence

Around age 3, you may start hearing a lot of “I can do it myself Mommy.” Let them – or at least give them a chance. Small steps towards independence at an early age help promote confidence and self-determination. Use these tips from Amber Melnyk at Charlotte Montessori to get started.

Let them dress themselves.
Provide two to three outfits and let your child choose which to wear. Be sure to allow extra time for them to dress themselves, including shoes and jacket.

Do the jacket flip. Lay the jacket on the floor with the tag facing the ceiling and have your child stand near the collar. The child bends over and puts their arms in the jacket and then flips the jacket over their head.

Personal hygiene.
Provide step stools and low towel racks in the bathroom so that your child can independently wash and dry their hands.

Tip: Place a box of tissues near a low hanging mirror where they can practice wiping their nose if they need to.

Care of environment.
Store child friendly placemats, dishes, cups and silverware in low drawers so they can help set the table before dinner.

Tip: Teach them to sort and fold laundry by making it seem like a game.

Clean Up.
Store toys in a basket on low, open shelves. Offer a small selection of toys and trade them out as needed.

Tip: Encourage your child to use only one toy at a time. Once they are done with a particular toy, they must clean up all the pieces and return it to the shelf before choosing another activity.