The Importance of Teaching Practical Life Skills

 In featured, Montessori School, Tips for Parents

It is very important that children start learning practical life skills at a young age.  Being able to contribute in a meaningful way to the running of the household gives children a sense of accomplishment and belonging.  It will certainly make life easier for them and you when they grow into teenagers and eventually into adults.

From a very early age children are observing the adults in their world cleaning the house, doing laundry, cooking and doing other household chores.  They start wanting to help. Showing them and allowing them to do some of these things can be time consuming and requires lots of patience, but the short term investment yields a long term benefit to your child and to you.

What are the repercussions of always doing it ourselves and not involving our children in the process? We see it all the time in young people entering the workforce, in adults, teenagers, family members, etc.

One of our staff worked in a youth shelter for six years. She dealt with many teenagers from many different backgrounds and most of them had one thing in common – other than needing a place to stay,-they lacked essential practical life skills.  Some had never even used a sharp knife to cut up vegetables for dinner. She had to show them how to use a broom, a mop, do their laundry, make a grocery list, make a bed, make dinner, and the list goes on. How are young people supposed to live on their own without these skills? Had no one taken the time to show them? By the time they are teenagers, it is so much harder for them to learn these skills essential to living.

In our classroom, we help the children gain these skills. From the moment they enter our classroom to the moment they leave, they are responsible for their environment. We provide them with the opportunity to learn how to clean up a spill, wash and iron clothes, care for plants and sew on buttons. At this age, these activities are not chores to the children – they love doing them. This is the time to start.

photo credit: Amelia Cleaning via photopin (license)

photo credit: Mystic Seaport – Mystic CT via photopin (license)

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