So much of the learning your child does before age 6 is learning how to interact with others.
These learning moments of 'What happens when...' are grouped into Grace and Courtesy lessons in the Montessori classroom and are essential to building a positive school community. You can incorporate Grace and Courtesy lesson at home as well, and today we'd like to touch on a very important topic: How to ask and wait for help.
Even the most independent child needs help throughout the day and it feels wonderful to help them. However, learning to ask politely and then wait for help if it isn't available immediately is an important skill that your child can begin to practice. Introduce the topic to your child through modeling. Make a point of asking your child for help using the language you'd like to teach them: 'Would you help me please?'
Next, give your child gentle reminders of how to ask for help from others, like neighbors, grandparents or friends. 'You can ask John for help. Do you remember how to ask?'
Lastly and perhaps most importantly, establish trust with your child by always following through. For example, if your child asks for help but you are unavailable at that moment, simply tell them so. 'I can help you as soon as I'm finished changing your brother's diaper.' Then, be sure to follow up when you say you will. In this way your child will practice patience, but also trust that you won't forget them if they wait patiently.
The first few times you ask your child to wait, there may be tears or tantrums. But working through these moments of frustration will teach your child how to act appropriately in a group, and these lessons will serve them for life.