Encouraging Independence in Children

The journey that a child takes towards independence is a huge part of a Montessori education. Much of the material in the Montessori classroom calls for independent work; and we Montessorians often say, “Never do for a child what he can do for himself.” It’s helpful to continually ask yourself, “Could my child do this?” If the answer is yes, then let them.

Another way to foster independent thinking is this: instead of asking your child to do something (“Please put your coat away”), you ask them a question that prompts the action. For instance, “Is there something you forgot to do when you came inside?” Let them be the one to think of the necessary task.

A child who is encouraged to be independent will usually be confident and self-assured. This is a good thing, but it means accepting that this kind of child will likely have strong opinions and ideas. When you encourage independence, you need to be ready to handle the consequences of it.