Is your house a mess? Mine is.
There never seems to be enough time to get all of the housework completely finished before the laundry or dish piles replenish themselves to be washed once again. Then there is the fun of the numerous toys that find their way throughout the house. Sorting through all of this stuff to weed out donations and get ready for new holiday gifts got me thinking about how difficult it can be to share space with others without resenting the mess those “others” leave behind. I want my children to be able to work together on the model they picked out, and I’m happy they (mostly, ok-sometimes) enjoy each other’s company, but I don’t want glue and random model parts to still be on the kitchen table next week.
My boys are young and still learning to respect and care for the spaces we all share. I know that model will sometimes be put away before I have to ask my older son, but for my toddler it is a different story. Until recently, I was constantly nagging them to clean up. And the need to nag them really frustrated me. Perhaps you can relate? One of the most common question parents have after observing their children in our Montessori classrooms is, “I see she puts everything away when she’s done using it at school. Why doesn’t she do that at home?”
Children put their work away in a Montessori classroom because everything in the classroom is designed to make that an easy thing to do. For example, cubbies are child-sized so the children don’t need help hanging up their coats. The daily schedule is consistent, so the children are not surprised when it’s time to put their work away. And, when a child’s work is very important to her and she cannot finish it all today, she puts her name tag on it to remind everyone that she will be working on it first thing tomorrow morning. Also, the guidelines for the classroom are the same every day and everyone follows them (eventually) so cleaning up is just a normal part of the day.
If we take a moment to stop and think that the mess we so earnestly nag to be cleaned up is the work of our child it takes on new meaning. In the article “Here’s an Idea… Don’t Clean Up!”
Rachael Cedar invites us to view those nagging messes as work, in much the same way we do in our classrooms.
As the Holidays become a hustle and bustle and messes abound, remember to take a moment to remember the blessings of our children as they learn through play!