Many parents believe that the best way to raise their children is to let them be free to know the world around them, to walk barefoot, to live their childhood without problems, worries and responsibilities. However, some educational theories, such as those developed by Maria Montessori in the last century, believe that it is very important to try instead toassign our children small household chores undemanding, to help them grow in a healthier and more balanced way.
A woman named Florence Taylor wanted to apply the Montessori method to her son Jax, only two years old; the child was brought up by his mother according to the educational method of the great Italian woman of the 20th century, and knows how to be responsible in the house by doing small tasks of his own free will. Florence explained to the Mirror what, at just two years old, her son already knows how to do: “My son knows how to do, and does, a complete washing cycle. He knows how to put the right setting, where to put the pod and fabric softener, and how to tumble dry when he’s finished. I walked into the kitchen and saw him putting the laundry in the dryer, and all I had to do was say “thank you”. He’s always had an interest in cooking, so I let him. We have kid safe knives, pots and pans and he made lasagna, spaghetti bolognese and omelets practically all by himself.
My son knows how to brew a cup of tea from start to finish. He does the whole process except pour the kettle, mostly because it’s too big and heavy for him. But he understands that it’s hot and he shouldn’t touch it, and that mom does that part. Then he strains the teabags and takes them out, stirs the tea and leaves”.
Florence chose to follow the Montessori method becauseshe wanted her son Jax to grow into a happy but responsible child over time. Still, many parents online have had mixed reactions to Florence’s teachings; These mums and dads said they could never force their children to do light housework, but the mum from West Sussex, England, was keen to point out that she never, ever forced her Jax to do his daily tasks:I don’t force my son to do chores, I would never do that. These are all things he was interested in. I just let him participate and learn. He does them for his own pleasure and his own satisfaction”.
Although the Montessori method is safe and effective, this mother’s choice has certainly created a divide in public opinion: is it right to accustom our young children, without forcing them, to do small household chores and responsibility from an early age?