Montessori wrote that “To aid life, leaving it free, however, to unfold itself, that is the basic task of the educator.”
Children seek independence from a very young age. How can we, as parents, guardians or educators, aid them in their quest to "do it by themselves?"
To start with, try one, two or all three of the handy phrases below! By pausing our adult reaction to step in and help, we will be giving children the space and time needed to accomplish a task independently.
1. You did it, all by yourself!
So simple, so powerful. "You did it!" gives your child ownership over their accomplishments. They are able to step back and say, "I did do it, didn't I?" and gain confidence in their abilities.
2. Go ahead, you can do it! I'm right here.
Sometimes we know a child is capable of doing something on their own, but perhaps that day they are feeling tired or unsure. By reassuring your child that you're nearby to help if needed, they will have the extra boost of confidence to try one more time.
3. Would you like to try?
Children are keen observers. Observe your child as they watch you go about everyday tasks. The next time your child is watching you sweep the floor or putting laundry in the washer, ask them: "Would you like to try?" This is an open and non-threatening invitation to be just like mom and dad.
Often, open-ended questions or words of support are all a child needs to master a new skill. As this mastery grows day after day, your child will become confident and independent individuals!