If you send your toddler to a Montessori-based daycare, you may find that they soon begin to show more independence than before. The Montessori method is based on fostering independence through practicing everyday activities. For example, kids who attend a Montessori daycare may learn how to get their own drinks and snacks, how to play on their own, and how to care for their belongings. As a parent, it is natural for you to want your child to continue to explore these kinds of independence at home as well. There are several ways for you to encourage Montessori-based independence without taking the time to become an expert in the Montessori method.
Stay Up-to-Date With Your Child's Development
Many parents are surprised to learn all of the things their child is doing on their own at daycare because their child still asks for help when completing similar tasks at home. To avoid this and encourage independence, make sure you know what skills your child is currently working on.
This can be done with a short conversation with your child's childcare provider once a week. However, it may be easier to understand how much your child is capable of if you visit their daycare center. If you have time, consider volunteering one day a month at your child's daycare center.
Stick to a Regular Daycare Schedule
Routine is an important part of developing confidence and independence in a toddler. A toddler needs to know what to expect each day in order to feel comfortable exploring new skills. To make sure your toddler is comfortable, it is important to stick to a regular daycare schedule.
For example, you may want to send your child to half-day daycare every weekday as opposed to full-time daycare twice a week in order to make their schedule more predictable. Alternatively, you may choose to lengthen their weekend and only send them to school Tuesday-Friday.
Encourage Independent Play at Home
When you visit your child's daycare, you may be surprised to see them work on a single task for an extended period of time. The freedom to work on a project as long as necessary is an important aspect of the Montessori method. You should encourage the same type of in-depth play at home. This involves not interrupting your child while they are involved in constructive play. You may also want to talk to your child's teacher to ask about the current materials your child is most interested in and purchase a set for your home.
Fostering independence should be a joint effort between childcare providers and parents. If you are concerned about your child's developing independence, talk with their Montessori-based childcare provider about other methods for encouraging independence.