Saturday, December 7, 2013

Involving Young Children in Decorating for the Holidays

The more I try to incorporate Montessori ideas into my home, the more impressed I am with how much my children are capable of learning and doing, and how happy it makes them to have the power and ability to do things for themselves.

Things take more time, but if I plan for it, I usually have plenty of time.  I would rather do fewer things and let my children participate more fully in each of those things, and that realization has shaped the way we're decorating for Christmas.  We're decorating a little at a time, and enjoying the process even more than the results.

As we decorate for Christmas I try to regularly ask myself, what can my toddler and preschooler help with?

Maybe help is the wrong word, because "help" implies that, well, it's going to be helpful.  Since my children are so young, a better question might be "how can my children participate?"  How can I get them involved, help them feel ownership, give them the pleasure of participating in our holiday traditions?

When I think of it that way, it reminds me that they're not here to help me decorate, I'm here to help them participate.  It's my job as a parent to find ways for them to feel helpful and included.  I'm sowing the seeds for children who will be legitimately helpful, independent, and capable later on.  More importantly, I'm helping them have enormous fun and make beautiful Christmas memories NOW!

Greg and I love doing things with Will and Andrew as a family, and that means finding as many things as we can that little hands can do.  Greg is a natural at this... I often have to think about it.  I'm really happy when I do :)

Luckily, there's a lot!  Here are some examples.  Happy decorating!

What can your little one's hands do?

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