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Discover the secret of childhood from 0-3 year old:

Posts Tagged ‘fine motor skills’

How DO You Create The Best Home Environment for Your Child?

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 4:24 pm | By Stephanie Woo
B and M Making Eggs In the Kitchen (25 months old)

B and M Making Scrambled Eggs (25 months old)

In the last two weeks, I’ve given two talks and done many private Skype and home consultations. I’ve received overwhelmingly beautiful thank-you emails. People used words like “eye-opening” “really impacted me” “a Montessori angel,” “a billion thank-you’s.” My favorite stories are things like, “Even in the few days since your talk, I’ve noticed him responding really well to increased chances at independence,” or “She received a doll a few months ago and have been astounded by the way she cares for her “baby,” so I thought another role playing toy would be great. I wasn’t thinking that she can actually peel, cut, mix, etc. using real foods, and learn by doing rather than pretending!”

Because I know my clients also read my blog, if you sent me an email, I sincerely want to thank you for your kind words and taking the time to write what you did.

Now can I tell you the best part about all this? It’s my own experience of certainty and joy. I am more certain than ever that the best home environment is one of the most important things you can do for your child.  Parents spend so much hard-earned money on daycare, swim class, nannies and all sorts of products at Toys R Us (I’m guilty as charaged). But home is where your child spends the most amount of time. A child can go into the kitchen 20 times a day. How do you set-up a kitchen so that your child can feel ownership and work on his organizational skills?  Does he have a way to access a towel or tissue to wipe his face? Can he reach the bread and peanut butter to make himself a snack? Can he get a drink of water without asking for help? We want an environment where the child can take care of his own needs based on his own timeline and according to his own rhythm. Lucky for us, when he is taking care of his own basic needs, he’s also working on those critical skills we most want him to have: self-discipline, organization, gross and fine motor skills, self-confidence and executive skills. Why buy him a toy to exercise these things, when he can learn it from setting his own table everyday?

So, how do you do this? How can you create this for your child, too?

After my morning consultation session, I came downstairs and proclaimed to my husband: “I love my job!” I get to work with the most well-intentioned parents whose love for their children move me everyday. Parents are just looking for some advice, tips and methods that work. The Montessori Method works. Other methods may work as well, but now that you’re here, you need look no further.

For more information, please visit my Private Consultation page. Together, let’s create the best home environment for your child to learn and grow.

Video: “Figure It Out Yourself”

Friday, January 25th, 2013 9:59 am | By Stephanie Woo

My favorite words to say to my children are, “Figure it out yourself.” I’ve been saying it to them since they were six-months old. I love hearing them repeat it to themselves as they work on that 1-inch lock-and-key, buttoning small buttons or opening a complicated latch on a box. They would spend lots of time with those things, concentrating very hard, trying to figure it out. If they come back to me and use words like, “Help me” (which I also taught them at a very early age), then I’ll help.

“Every useless help is a hindrance.”
— Maria Montessori

Here’s a video of Mackenzie at 22 months:

Collaborating With Your Child

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 12:44 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Daddy Helps Brooke

Most adults just want to do things FOR the child. Why? It’s so much easier than teaching them to do it.

Let’s take cleaning up after meals for instance. You have two choices, you can clean the table for them, that takes about 30 seconds. OR you can have them do it. Then you have to figure out where to put the dirty dishes, how they will wipe the table, where to put the sponge, how they will clean their hands. And then once you’ve got the logistics down, you have to show them how to do it and then enforce it over and over and over and over and over…

One is clearly easier than the other. But one will make you feel like it’s Groundhog’s Day and you are playing the role of the slave, while the other gives your child the opportunity to practice motor skills, develop attention to detail, learn sequencing and give him a sense of independence that lead to happy, secure, confident children.

So you pick.

For those of you courageous and conscientious enough to take the second route, I have a piece of advice. When you are teaching your child to clean up after meals (this really applies to everything, but I’m just using this as an example), collaborate with them. Young children cannot do it all on their own all at once. They will be able to eventually, but it can be overwhelming at this age. So I’ll say, “Let’s clean up together. I’ll put the bowl and the plate  in the dishcart and you put the spoon in the dishcart.” OR “Let’s clean up together. You put this bowl (I’ll pick it up from the table) in the dishcart.” Then I’ll hand them the plate for them to put in the dishcart, the spoon, etc.  As long as they are doing something toward cleaning, that is what you’re looking for. Even if at the end, you feel you did most of the cleaning, if they participated, then you are on the right path. Gradually, over time, you can pull back and they can do more. There will be regression on bad days. If they are tired or cranky, don’t force it. Don’t punish them for not cleaning. Instead, use these words often, “Let’s do it together!” Even if you end up doing most of it that day, let it go. Tomorrow, when they are in a better place, they will do more of it.

I have a lot empathy for little ones. Transitioning from a baby in mama’s arms where everything is done to becoming your own little person – it’s a big transition. If you’re willing to collaborate with them, it’ll make their life –and yours – a little easier.