When the children and I are out on our adventures we occasionally need to stop to get our shoes on or take them off, to have our lunch, or wash our hands.
These are things my little friends try to do on their own, some with complete independence, some with a little support, always within the age appropriate expectations for their development.
Sometimes while the children work on their shoes, or their coats, or eating their lunch independently (oh the mess independence can make sometimes!) someone will comment: “Wouldn’t it be easier if you … fed them … did it for them? Wouldn’t it be faster?”
Yes, it absolutely would.
But what am I saying to them when I hurry to do up their shoes for them? When I take the spoon away because they are too messy?
“You can’t do it.”
“I can do this better, faster, than you.”
These aren’t things I want to say to my little friends who are working so hard to master a skill, to learn and to grow.
I want them to know that I believe in them, that I’ll help them if they ask, but I know that they can be successful as long as they keep trying.
Maria Montessori said, “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”
So I stand back and let them work and support them when they need it.
We make a mess, we take our time.
Sometimes it’s hard to wait for those little hands to zip that zipper, but the results are so worth it.