This past weekend, I was in Boulder for a Montessori workshop. It was focused on the concept of "Child Study"--bringing teacher teams together to brainstorm strategies for children who are struggling.
We practiced the process with a child who has autism. The presenting teacher talked about how much screen time the child gets at home and how it makes it more difficult to pull the child into reality during the school day.
I definitely try to limit Henry's screen time. I only resort to it if I need to take a nap on the weekend (which, um, is often). I'll pull out the laptop and set him up to watch Caillou, Bob the Builder, or Handy Manny.
Instead of screen time, I try to fill his days with experiences that let him exercise his five senses and have concrete interactions with the world, especially during this stage of development (from 0-6) when is mind is absorbing the environment and constructing itself significantly.
I try to fit in as much practical life as possible. Honestly, Henry really only enjoys practical life that is connected to food, so I take what I can get. On Sunday he was hungry for eggs, so he got out the bowl, eggs, compost, whisk, and apron. It's amazing to see how independent he has become since starting in the kitchen around 18 months of age.
Watching him work just reiterated how important it is to build children's independence in the areas of self-care and practical life. The best form of self-confidence comes from feeling competent.
These kinds of experiences teach so much: multi-step directions, focus, concentration, problem-solving, and critical-thinking. And they result in delicious food!