Bodily autonomy and consent have become hot parenting topics in the last few years.
Fantastic! These are such important concepts to cover in the early years.
When we prioritize autonomy at a young age, it helps children to understand and assert healthy boundaries, even when it makes other people uncomfortable - "No, you can't have a hug/pick me up/pinch my cheeks just because I haven't seen you in awhile."
I love hearing my two year old proclaim, "my body, my choice!"when his older brother is getting too rough.
One way that we can practice the concept of autonomy at home is by teaching our children self-care.
And no, I'm not talking about pampering activities, like warm bubble baths.
Montessori self-care tasks are the activities we do to take care of our bodies.
For children, these include things like:
Wiping/blowing a runny nose
Cleaning ones face after a meal
Hair and teeth brushing
The Importance of Teaching Self-Care
Not only do these activities encourage independence but they also show our children that we understand they're in charge of their bodies and what happens to them.
Rather than roughly wiping our children's face after a meal, we can provide a wet cloth and mirror so they can clean their own face.
Self-care tasks also help our children become more in tune with their bodies and its needs, great skills to take out into the world with them.
HOW To Teach Self-Care At Each Age - From Infants to 3+
Katie has put together a short list of self-care tasks you can introduce at each age.
What's important to note is that children are often capable of so much more than we realize.
This is especially true when we start with simple steps and build on them over time, just like I had mentioned in this potty training post.
A child that has been wiping their face after meals since they were one, will be able to do it independently much sooner than a child starting at three.