If you adjust your expectations, your children will be happier - and so will you.

Are you expecting too much from your child, or too little?

Do you expect them to adjust to (your) adult values and time scales?

It doesn't, and shouldn't, matter to your young child that their parent will be late for work or if spilling juice will ‘ruin’ the carpet, the child is driven by their innate quest for independence, to put their shoes on themselves and to pour their own drink.

From birth the child is powered by their internal timetable, each step along the way a step toward the goal of independence and self direction. 

Your child is absolutely desperate to do things for themselves almost as soon as they grasp the idea of what it is that needs doing.

As adults it's our job to create an environment where the child can, wherever possible, succeed in their ever-growing quest for independence.

"Help me to do it myself" is the plea of the small child and is a phrase often used by Montessorians as a short-hand way to describe the Montessori approach to child rearing/education.

Parents can use this approach to meet the developmental needs of their child.

look around the home and find ways to create a pathway toward independence the child craves, what can parents do to make this easier?

As the young child starts to want to do things themselves there are changes you can easily make, simple things like: 

  1. Open shelves at child height with activities categorised and organised with all components needed. These activities are age appropriate.

  2. A sturdy child sized table and chair or a Tripp Trapp chair (google it, they're fantastic) so the child can use the dining table.

  3. A step to allow access to the hand-basin / toilet. A hand-towel at the right height.

  4. A learning tower in the kitchen to provide safe access to kitchen benches for easy involvement in the preparation of food.

  5. Child safe kitchen utensils and a child sized chopping board, plus a place to work.

  6. Practical storage so the child can access their clothing and shoes.

  7. Purchasing clothes and shoes which make it easy for the child to dress themselves and go to the toilet.

  8. Walk at a pace that allows the young child to explore their surroundings.

The more activities the young child can do by themselves (once they have been taught the skill) the happier the child will be and conversely, the parent too will be happier as there will be fewer battles.

What the child cannot do is understand or appreciate adult values and time frames - that's not their job, that's yours. 

Their job is to strive for independence and ever increasing control, so help them to do that and you'll all be much happier.