To do: Decide as a family who does what to help clean up after dinner
Time: Family meeting to set up, then daily
Materials: Writing materials to document your family decisions, then cleaning materials that your child can access independently
At the end of a family meal, who does what? Does each family member have a job, or do you take turns?
Cleaning activities, like washing dishes, sweeping, and drying dishes, are integral to the Montessori classroom.
These gross motor activities help children use big muscles and the activities themselves are very satisfying to start and finish independently. Lastly, they fulfill a child’s need for order and cleanliness!
As a family, decide how your child will contribute during clean up time at home.
Activity: Organized Clean Up Time
One of the phenomenons of the Montessori classroom is group lunch time. After eating a peaceful group meal, each child moves as if by magic to clean up their own lunch things. This synchronized movement is partly because, as a group, that classroom has agreed upon what they need to do to clean up. Here’s how to do it at home!
1. Have a family gathering. Speak about the tasks that need to happen to clean up after a family meal. Write your list down, or just speak about each step in order. “First, we put extra food in a leftover container.”
2. Next, decide what every family member needs to do for themselves. “I need to bring my plate to the dishwasher and place it on the counter.”
3. Decide what communal tasks need to be done. A younger child can push chairs in at the table, while an older child can load the dishwasher.
4. Finally, practice your new clean up routine! Ask you member of the family to show the rest what do to. “Let’s watch Judy to see how she carefully carries her plate to the counter.”
Having older children help model behavior will help younger children make good decisions. Involving even your youngest children in clean-up will make them feel like a part of the group and help them accomplish increasingly more difficult tasks independently!
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