Yes, we know logically that all children are different, they develop at their own pace, and they will all have their own strengths and weaknesses.
BUT the second we see another two year old dressing themselves, knowing our two year old fights us viciously to get dressed in the morning... all logic flies out the window and we wonder what we've done wrong.
Been there, at least once a month 👀
Montessori actually provides a great framework for not only teaching independence, but also learning to accept when it might not be the right time for it.
What To Do If Your Child Is NOT Interested in Independence
If there are certain activities where your child is showing no interest in independence there's two things you can do:
1. "Help Me to Help Myself"
Young children are naturally driven towards independence so if they’re showing little interest around a particular task, it could be because they don’t know how to do a part of it or aren’t feeling confident in their ability to do it on their own.
As adults we forget that EVERYTHING has to be learned so if your child is asking for help with something, don't worry about helping them too much.
Show them how to do it by breaking it down into steps.
For example, if your child is asking for help to put on their shoes, they may be able to do some of the steps on their own.
This is where observation can be helpful. Look for the step they’re struggling and try to figure out how you can make that part easier for them.
Putting on shoes has 5 steps:
Lift up tongue to make opening bigger
Slide in foot
Push heel down into shoe
Maybe they just need help getting their foot into the shoe. Feel free to assist with this step for as long as they need.
2. Ask yourself "Why?" and "Why now?"
Something parents often say is "I know they can do it. They do it all the time at home."
If your child was doing something independently but they're now asking for help, it’s helpful to ask yourself "Why?" and "Why now?".
There could be any number of reasons why your child is now asking for help with things they already know how to do:
They may be seeking connection with you
They may be tired/hungry/not feeling 100%
They're adjusting to a new change in their environment or routine (new baby, moving homes, starting school, etc.)
If there’s been a regression in your child’s independence, help them out. Once they’re feeling better or more settled, they’ll likely start doing things independently again.
In this same vein, it’s also important to remember that just because your child can do something independently doesn’t mean they’re going to want to all the time.
I can put away the laundry independently but it's nice when my husband does it sometimes :)
Even adults appreciate a helping hand every once in a while, especially after a long day or when we're not feeling well.
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