As a typical first time parent, I was there for each and every minute my kid needed me. I used to think that this time with my kid is very precious to me and I need to have that quality time/bonding with my kid. So all my things/tasks were taking back seat. I never realized my folly in this approach till the time my kid turned into 3 and I started searching for the right school for my kid. When I learned little about Montessori philosophy and its approach, bringing those Montessori methods into my home seemed a daunting task. But the more I read and researched and tried understanding, the easier it became for me to turn into a Montessori Parent. So read on further about what is it really means by Montessori Parenting.
Montessori Parenting is a relaxed parenting that surrounds Dr. Maria Montessori’s observations of the child. This approach mainly depends on the Montessori philosophy, wherein the Child would show us the lead as to what he/she would like to do on a particular day. It’s like the “Follow the Child” approach. It’s like extending the Montessori ideas followed at the school into the home as well. Here are a few basic ideas of the Montessori philosophy that can be implemented at home very easily:
- Follow the Child: As a toddler, the child doesn’t really know what they want. So the responsibility falls on us as a parent to provide the right (prepared) environment which is safe enough for them to thrive in. Then if we let the child choose what they want to learn or play with, then we are aiding the development of self-worth within the child. Decision-making is the most important skill for children.
- Freedom: Child loves to have the freedom to decide what to do next, what to wear, what to eat etc. Giving them freedom with limits would foster their independence. But the limits should be clearly explained to the child as crossing them for himself, or others would be dangerous/unsafe.
- Child Desires: As per Dr. Maria Montessori, all the child wants is inclusion and involvement in their parent’s schedules. Once when the parent lets the child be a part of their daily household activities, then the time a parent has to really sit and engage the child would not only reduce drastically but also the child’s need for constant attention-seeking would reduce as the child would start feeling wanted and cared for, which improves their sense of belonging into the family.
- Space for the Child: Children run on a different internal clock than adults. They need time to explore and learn. So as a parent, we need to take a step back and appreciate the child as who he is rather than rushing them through the tasks. Providing a child-sized environment at home would help the child explore stuff more easily. Including their downtimes and active times in our daily schedule is really important.
- Hands-on Learning: A toddler is known more of a question box, and rather than providing an immediate answer, provide them with the tools to explore and arrive at the appropriate answer. Helping them reach the answer to their questions will improve their inquisitiveness.
- Positive Discipline: Children need discipline, and till the child learns self-discipline, it’s upon us as parents to impose those boundaries of discipline. So as a parent, we need to create those boundaries, constantly observe the child, and consistently model positive behavior until they naturally opt for positive behavior.
- Lastly, just Love and Support them: All every child needs is to spend time with their Parents. So make time and effort to spend some qualitative time with the child daily, whether it’s playing a sport with them, reading a book to them, or even just sitting with them and experiencing the world around us. By doing this, the parent would be able to build a stronger connection with the child and would be able to understand their desires and needs easily.
You might likely be following some or most of the above principles at home without even realizing it. Then this article is just a reminder to you that as a parent, you are doing a fine job of nurturing curious, independent, and inquisitive minds. Welcome on board to Montessori parenting!!
“Never help a Child with a task at which he feels he can succeed”Dr. Maria Montessori
Every house will have different constraints and conditions. So as a parent, it’s upon us to take the knowledge and finetune it as per our needs. As long as we nurture a positive, curious, inquisitive, and happy kid, we succeed in our parenting journey.
Dear Reader, this is the fifth part of the eight-part Montessori Method and its Philosophy Series, and please stay tuned for further updates on the same topic. The common doubts plaguing parents about Montessori Education will be addressed in the next part.
Suhasini, IP, is the Author of the book “Practical Tips for Kids Mental Health.” As a certified kids and parents life coach, she helps/guides you toward a happy family life for your kids. She firmly believes that “Emotionally Happy Kids of today are the Mentally Strong and Happy Citizens of tomorrow.” Let’s make the world a happy and beautiful place for our kids to thrive.