If you have been to one of our Montessori at home meetings you will know that in a Montessori setting, independence is at the forefront of everything we do.
This ranges from choosing their own work, free flow garden time, pouring their own water at lunch, cleaning up after themselves and many more activities in and around the classroom. One area of independence that we will always encourage at Rozey days is getting dressed by themselves. This starts with coats and shoes, but also trousers, tops and socks.
I am sure a lot of our parents as used to being given a bag of wet clothes at the end of the day, either when the children are in the process of learning to use the toilet or getting muddy at forest school, there are many ways to get wet and children seem to find water everywhere!
At Rozey Days if a child needs to get changed, they will be encouraged to do it themselves. Allowing children to dress themselves strengthens gross and fine motors skills, spatial awareness, and you guessed it our favorite word.... independence!
We will assist children if they need it but will encourage them to do as much as possible; removing clothes is the easiest place to start. At the end of the day before bed or bath encourage your child to get underdressed themselves, if you have even been given a wet bag from nursery, trust me they did it themselves, they can do it! Getting re-dressed is always going to be tricky for little hands, so I have some tips for anyone that would like to encourage this important skill at home:
1) Try to avoid ways in which your child could become frustrated, therefore it is a good idea to have loose tea shirts and elastic waist trousers as these are the easiest. It is better to save buttons and zippers for later.
2) The area we start with in setting first is trousers and underwear. Think about all the steps it takes for you to put on a pair of trousers, especially tight jeans, and keep this in mind when guiding your child to do the same. They will need help in learning to scrunch up the leg to get their foot out the bottom. Even if your child is in a nappy, we encourage them to take their trousers off and put them back on themselves when getting a nappy change.
3) Please try to avoid correcting. If your child works for 10 minutes putting on their trousers and they are backwards, let it go. Their sense of pride and achievement is too important to point out what they have done wrong, and they may even notice on their own. If they have put both legs though one hole, then do please encourage them to recognise this and talk them through how to make it more comfortable.
4) I know this is easier said then done, but please allow time as much time as possible. When children are learning a new skill, it can take them multiple attempts before they are able to do it themselves, let alone in a rush as they need to be out of the door for school. PJs/bedclothes count as clothes so I would encourage this as a great place to start.
Teaching children to be self-sufficient can be a long task. There is certainly a lot of preparation needed before you can start but it is worth it to have a confident, independent child and eventually it will lead to a much smoother morning rush to et out of the door! I say, eventually as it is a long yet worthwhile process.
I hope you found the above tips helpful, i would love to hear how you are getting on!
Miss Stephanie- Montessori Teacher and Manager at Rozey Days Montessori