My Montessori Child Refuses to Help Around the House!

Two toddler boys playing: one in a red plastic car, the other is pushing the car.

I got an email from a mom describing some typical preschool behavior! Walking through mud! Just kidding! Read on: How do you respond to your child when he or she refuses to do things? If he or she is "a little on the lazy side and doesn’t like to help" like get his shoes on or put his belongings away.

Here is an effective method you can try in this situation (and it is used in Montessori classrooms, including mine!). Give out daily jobs! First, you make labels with the names of the jobs, along with a little picture or drawing (it is up to you if you want to laminate them). Write one job per label. (If you don't want to make labels, try a big chalkboard or dry wipe board.) If you make labels, you need a corkboard and pushpins.

Second, have a "job time" at various times of the day. And it is best to have job time BEFORE playtime/outside time and BEFORE eating snacks, lunch, or dinner and BEFORE TV or video or DVD time. And it need only be five to ten minutes long.

Third, have your children's names above the jobs they need to do that day or time.

So... when it is job time, ring a little bell or a triangle, go over to where your job labels are. Point to the name of the child, and read out the job(s) for each child, then let them go do their jobs. (And having the labels there with pictures gives the child a visual of what to do.)

And when first starting out, don't overdo it and give them ten jobs each! One job should do it, then in a few weeks or months, add a second and third job. But have more than one job time per day!


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