be.Living

Tips to strengthen children’s autonomy at home

In the school environment, the little ones in Early Childhood Education are constantly called upon to take responsibility for themselves and the collective, taking care of their belongings, spaces, and developing their achievements in autonomy within the context of their daily learning routine.

“It’s important to clarify that, when we talk about autonomy for children in Early Childhood Education, we’re not talking about moral autonomy, which is progressively constructed over the years until, at around age 11, the children are able to make choices based on a moral understanding, an appropriation of what is right and wrong, what is good and bad. When we talk about autonomy in Early Childhood Education, we’re talking about gaining autonomy in everyday actions, that is, the children’s ability to carry out some daily tasks independently,” explains Camila Maia, pedagogical coordinator of Early Childhood Education at be.Living.

Camila says that it is possible to strengthen the children’s autonomy in the home environment and gives tips that can help develop and validate the children’s achievements in daily life during the July vacation period.

“It’s recommended that the children are allowed to take responsibility, to some extent, for actions involving their own bodies: For instance, that they begin to brush their teeth before an adult takes over and finishes; that they try to put on their socks and shoes by themselves; that they help when it’s time to get dressed and undressed. Leading the children to participate in collective actions is also very important, such as lunch or dinner, asking for their help to set the table, taking responsibility for napkins, for example. It’s a way to make the children feel like active members of a collective environment and make them understand the roles they can play there. This strengthens the children.”

The coordinator also emphasizes the importance of the children making choices. “Gaining autonomy has a lot to do with the process of making choices: Choosing how you want to play, choosing the clothes you’ll wear, choosing the food you want to eat. Of course, when we talk about choices in the context of childhood, we won’t open an entire range for them, but we can let them choose between two options, such as choosing which of two outfits to wear or which of two foods they prefer to eat that day. With this, adults give the children a chance to get in touch with their preferences, what they like and don’t like, and to develop their autonomy tied to their identity.”

Children who can get dressed, put away their things, choose their clothes and contribute to chores understand that they have power. Therefore, creating opportunities in the home routine that validate their independence and help develop their responsibility and their ability to make choices is an act of devotion and love that will directly affect their feeling of confidence and self-esteem.

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