To do: Start the habit of tucking in chairs at home, just like in the Montessori classroom
Time: 15 minutes to start, repeat daily
Materials: Chairs and tables
One tradition of Montessori classrooms, both during work hours and at meals, is carefully tucking in a chair behind oneself. It’s a lesson a child will learn very quickly! Here’s why:
Part of this etiquette practice is for safety reasons. With many children working in the same space, it’s easy to catch a foot on an improperly tucked chair.
Another reason children tuck chairs in is to practice control of movement. Children practice standing up, stepping out and behind their chairs, and tucking in using two hands on the back of the chair.
This step-by-step approach helps a child slow down, move carefully and accurately, and feel that they are in control of their bodies.
Now, let’s take this etiquette practice home!
For your older child: Observe how your child moves, what their current habits are, and think about where and why they have these habits. Take a look at yourselves as parents, do you always tuck your chair in?
Next, have a conversation. Ask your child leading questions like, “Why do you think dad always tucks his chair in?” or “Do you tuck your chair in at school during lunch time?”
Finally, decide where you will implement change. Rather than making it seem like your child has been doing something wrong, introduce the change as a new family routine. “Let’s all practice tucking our chairs in right now. From now on, we will all make an effort to tuck our chairs in after we leave them!”
For your younger child: Implementing this early on will help your child get in the habit! For a younger child, showing is the best way of teaching. Slowly and carefully tuck your chair in, and invite them to do the same. Of course, this is if they have small chairs that they are capable of pushing in safely and independently.
If they don’t have their own chairs, simply continue to be a good role model, and perhaps speak about what you are doing. “After I get up from the table, I always tuck my chair in so no one will trip.”
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