I want each of my children to feel loved, adored and so very special. I take care to do as much for them as possible. I set out their clothes every morning, set out their breakfast, I pack their bags for them and fill their water bottles for the school day. I clean up after them, put their dishes in the sink or pick up all their toys after they are done playing. I even take it as far as to cut the chicken off the bone for my 10 year old.
I could never understand why my children struggled to share with each other, messed constantly and did very little to help me or each other. This was quite obvious actually. I did everything for them and only expected a thank you in return. I created an environment where the needs of the individual were more important than the needs of the family.
I have to credit their Montessori school with a positive change in them at home in this regard. One of the Montessori principles is to take care of the group before the individual. While each child is important, the needs of the class as a whole are always more important than the needs of one.
My children now clean up after themselves, put away their toys, put their dishes in the sink and help each other. They are learning to be of service to others. This morning my boy even packed his sister’s bag and got her hat for her and placed it on her chair. This was a first. I have never really seen them pull together the way they are now. They are kind and loving children, but the sense of community and shared responsibility in our home is a new experience for us.
I will always ‘spoil’ my children with time and attention, but it is no longer done without any expectation of them. I want to raise considerate children who put others first. Children want to know we trust them to do important work, they want to feel useful and want to be of service. I think we all do.
Here are some practical applications that I am putting to use:
Encourage a sense of community in your home through engaging in activities tougher as a family. It can be as simple as setting the table together.
Encourage a sense of service through asking your child to make Dad a cup of tea or to help a younger sibling with a task.
Give children simple chores around the home to encourage them to take responsibility and feel a part of their home community.
I am learning that letting my children make their own mistakes and take responsibility for their own actions,like forgetting their school books at home because I don’t pack their bags anymore, helps them so much more than making sure everything is perfect for them.