This morning, Mackenzie was crying and attached to my leg, so to distract her, I took out a mandarin orange for her to peel. She immediately stopped crying, sat down on her chair and began peeling. It’s not easy task for a 17 month old. She was using so much force pulling the skin off the orange that the rest of her body was shaking. Being a mom, my heart hurt watching her work so hard, but the Montessorian in me knew that I shouldn’t interfere, so I bit my tongue and kept quiet. Bit by bit, she peeled the entire thing by herself. I said to her, with relief in my voice, “Now you can eat it!” Brooke came over. Mackenzie immediately handed her the peeled orange and looked up at the bag of unpeeled orange, holding her hand out for another one to peel.
Just like my mother, Ms. Lam, told me, children around 1 1/2 – 3 years old, are not working for a reward of any kind. The reward is the work itself. This is so important: THE REWARD IS THE WORK ITSELF. What’s the biggest gift you can give your toddler? Watch what they’re interested in doing, give it to them, then leave them alone to do it for as long as they like without interrupting them! Don’t talk to them, don’t say, “good job,” don’t try to help them or correct them, do not even look at them. It might be climbing up and down the stairs, or pouring water from one thing into another, or digging sand, or ripping up a piece of paper, or lying there singing the same song over and over, it doesn’t matter what it is. Just let them work. This is so simple, yet so hard, for a parent to do. But I assure you it is the best gift you can give them to prepare them for the future. Concentration, coordination, self-discipline – you cannot pay enough money to give your child these things down the line!
This video was taken the week before…
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