Friday, March 19, 2021

Teaching Life Skills to Your Montessori Preschooler [3 Tips]

Playing with putty can develop fine motor skills necessary for life skills
The Montessori preschool in Chatsworth has eight curriculum areas, including Practical Life. This learning area is focused on teaching children how to care for themselves, so they can begin eating, dressing, and cleaning on their own. Practical life skills can be further developed at home with the following three tips.

  1. Strengthen your child’s fine motor skills

Your child will have an easier time caring for themselves with strong fine motor skills. Fine motor skills involve use of small hand muscles. To strengthen these muscles, have your child regularly manipulate objects large and small. They should have a range of movements: pulling, pushing, squeezing, mashing, threading, and more.

Here are some activities that will strengthen fine motor skills while teaching life skills:

  • Use child-sized utensils to eat 

  • Dress themselves with clothes that have buttons, zippers, buckles, and Velcro 

  • Paint with their fingers or paintbrush

  • Play with playdough

  • Use crayons, pencils, and markers to draw, color, and write

  • Build with tower blocks or rings

  1. Let them assist meal preparation

At some Montessori preschools, children learn how to follow simple recipes such as sandwiches, fruit salads, and vegetable salads. Easy recipes are a great way for your child to learn they can feed themselves. As they grow, you can introduce them to increasingly complex recipes.

You can also have your child assist preparation of healthy snacks or entire meals. Give them easy tasks like washing vegetables, measuring ingredients, and peeling fruit rinds. Additionally, they can help set the table with placemats and utensils. Helping with meal prep has an additional benefit of preventing food pickiness. When children have a hand in cooking, they often want to taste what they created.

  1. Ask them to make decisions

Preschool is a great time to start asking your child to make decisions that affect themselves. When laying out options, only give options that you’d be okay with them choosing. For example, if you let your child choose that night’s dinner, don’t offer meals you wouldn’t want to serve. If your child is choosing outfits, only let them choose between weather-appropriate outfits.

Other decisions could be the flavor of their next toothpaste bottle, the color of their next hair brush, how long they want to grow their hair, and their bedtime book.

Life skills are taught one small step at a time

The key to a successful life is building foundational skills at an early age. By teaching your preschooler life skills in small ways, you establish a future of independence and confidence.