In the Montessori approach, we acknowledge developmental crises at different stages of our children’s life. These are life’s check-in points that ensure we’re ready to move on to the next stage of development.
If you can recognize that your child is moving through one of these periods, it will make it easier to offer them the support they need.
Birth is our first developmental crisis as we are thrust into an unfamiliar world and have to adjust our senses to everything around us. Weaning is another. As your child starts eating food, suddenly what and when he brings it to his mouth is in his control much more than it was with a breast or bottle.
One of the most notable developmental crisis is ego-formation, also known as the oppositional phase. Or what your parents might call The Terrible Twos.
At this stage, your child is a clear individual, and recognizes their influence on the environment. This phase also coincides with language development and is characterized by lots of “no,” “me,” and “mine.” This is the first time in your child’s life that he or she is affirming their identity.
- Replace Yes or No questions, which invite a “No”, with two-choice questions such as “Would you like the red shirt or the blue shirt?”
- Use statements when “No” is not an acceptable answer. (Why do we find ourselves asking “Would you like to get ready for your nap?”) A useful statement is, “We will read one more book and then we will lay down to begin relaxing.”
- Remember this is an exciting time for your child and that we want to encourage them as they develop their verbal abilities.