What do the 5 principles look like in daily life ? Why should I follow them ?
Step 1 – Respect Your Child
Respecting your child is the first step to becoming a Montessori parent. This means respecting them as the little person they are and the person they will become. Respecting your child means recognising that they have thoughts and feelings that should be listened to, validated and engaged with.
What does this look like?
- Listening to your child’s opinions and engaging with them from a place of respect will help you to get to know your child.
- Respecting that your child is in control of their body. This means not forcing them to show affection to an adult when they do not want to. A Montessori parent will end physical contact when he or she asks you to.
- A Montessori parent does not punish a child when they make a mistake. Instead, they allow the child to learn from the mistake. Rewards are not a part of the Montessori parent’s vocabulary because the aim is for a child’s behaviour to be propelled by their desire, not for a reward.
- Apologising to your child when you are in the wrong.
- This doesn’t mean you have to agree and facilitate with their every need and want – They are still too young to make many choices and decisions and this is another important area for Parents to understand. Discipline is so important in the early years. Not strict Discipline – “You will do as I say and you will do it now.” Discipline – but More – “We need to tidy up in 5 minutes, Would you like to have a bath or finish your book first. Offering choices and giving a time frame of what needs to happen next and in the rest of the day is so important for the child’s confidence in his environment and those around him who care for him.
Step 2 – Understand the Absorbent Mind
To truly utilise the Montessori Method, you need to understand that your child is constantly learning and absorbing information from a young age. If you see Montessori as a way of life – you will see even the smallest interactions and experiences can shape your child’s thinking and behaviour.
Understanding the principle of the absorbent mind means being aware that your child sees, interprets, and internalizes everything around them. Your child may watch you pour some cereal into a bowl or make a snack and want to copy you. A Montessori parent will allow their child to prepare their snack and to pour their water into a cup. Things may move slower in the beginning and be a little messier – but by 3 years old you have a confident bright child who can do things for themselves – can dress, wash, eat and play by themselves – This will save lots of time in the future!!
What does this look like in the home
A Montessori parent can provide stimuli for a child’s absorbent mind in everyday life. Letting your child be involved in their life as an active participant may seem obvious and easy but it takes a little practice a lot of self-evaluation to keep you on track with your young ones needs and abilities. If they can do it by themselves they should! They learn a lot during their early years and it all comes from their environment and their role models. Reading to your child, modelling healthy and appropriate behaviour, going for walks, involving them in daily life, quiet times, showing respect and kindness and expecting respect and kindness, sharing, conversation etc. etc. A Montessori parent does not need to ‘actively educate.’ A busy day at home and a trip to the shops can offer all the opportunities a child really needs in his early years.