Oftentimes parents will discover the Montessori method after their child is already a toddler. Intrigued by all that Montessori has to offer, they fear too much time has passed and they cannot suddenly become a Montessori household. At first glance, it may be overwhelming to learn how to approach Montessori in your own parenting style. Simone Davies, author of The Montessori Toddler, has reassuring news: it’s never too late to start! She adds, “Even parents of teenagers could still benefit by adopting some of the Montessori method in communications with their child.”
We are pleased to share some tips from Simone on the Monti Kids blog today. Below Davies shares three approachable ways beginners can bring Montessori into their lives.
Introduce Montessori activities
If you’re new to Montessori, you could start with the activities you’re offering your child. Find activities that have a beginning, middle and end, that your child can really master because that’s the beauty of Montessori. For example, when working on a puzzle a child will learn it’s actually incredibly satisfying to finally work out where all the puzzle pieces go.
But don’t stop there! Putting the puzzle back where it belongs is the final step, and your child can do it!
Beyond adding a low shelf with six rotating activities, there are ways to set up your home so that there are spaces where your child can explore and grow. Look for ways to give your child more access to their belongings and household materials.
For example, your child can have access to a drawer in the kitchen where they can get their own plates, glasses and silverware. Your little one will learn to set their own place at the table. Children often learn it’s fun to do these chores, while contributing to your family’s community.
When you think about the home environment, the phrase “a place for everything and everything in its place,” comes to mind. It can be difficult because sometimes we take off our shoes by the front door, and sometimes in the living room. But to appeal to your child’s sense of order you could set up a place in the entryway where there’s a child-sized chair to sit to take off their shoes. There can also be a low hook, where your child can hang their bag. A small basket can be a place to put their shoes. This will set your child up for independence while appealing to their sense of order.
Communicating in a Montessori style
Thinking about the way you’re communicating with your child is another important element of Montessori. Don’t expect this will change overnight, but you can begin to move away from saying “good job” to your child. In Montessori, instead of saying good job, we describe what the child has done. When a child hears “good job”, that’s extrinsic motivation. Expanding on what the child did well supports developing the child’s intrinsic motivation. For example, you could say, “You look really happy. You put that puzzle piece back in.” Communicating with your child in this way helps build their self esteem.
You’ll also want to give the child some clear limits with a lot of freedom within those limits. So you’ll need to know your own boundaries, and have a few rules you really want to make clear.
For more information from Simone Davies – read her blog, The Montessori Notebook >