Montessori & Parenting
The Montessori Method emphasized the importance of training teacher extensively. Unfortunately, parents do not avail themselves of this important training and so are unprepared for effective parenting.
Using the Montessori Philosophy and teachings, it can be easy to learn the parenting skills that would help raise amazing children.
Respect for the child: Observation of the child and listening to him
Respect for the child is one of the major premise of the Montessori Philosophy but many parents of young children do not understand how they can show respect to their child. They can do this in a number of ways:
Practice observing your child quietly without saying anything but just being with him.
- Listen to your child when he is speaking to you.
- Give him your full attention not half attention.
- Look into his eyes when he is speaking to you.
- Put your phone on silence and put it down.
- Put off the television.
- Focus on your child.
When your child is speaking to you, he is trying to construct what he is saying, express himself to make meaning of the experiences he is relating to you. He is exploring his thoughts as he speaks to you and would likely come to his own solutions if given the opportunity. Parents can help him do this in the following ways:
- Adopt a caring posture as you listen which silently assures the child that he has your attention and invites him to continue telling you his news.
- Instead of asking him questions, giving him advice, scolding and admonishing him, simply acknowledge his points with a word like ‘I see’; ‘oh’; ‘mmm’ etc.
Children often feel very emotional. It is important that we do not ignore, dismiss or deny these feelings but allow him to express the feelings fully, in his own words.
- When your child expresses some feelings, it is important not to dismiss these feelings. Instead, recognize and name the feelings. If he is sad because he lost a toy, you could say something like …. To lose a toy can hurt. If he is happy after a party, you could say something like …. You really had fun today!
Describe instead of Scold: It can be challenging for the child to do what is right when he is being scolded but easier when the adult just describes the problem.
- After educating your child to put away his toys after playing with them, he may not always do that. When you see his toys still scattered on the floor when he is no longer using them, instead of scolding him, you could describe the problem by saying that his toys are still n the floor. The child will figure it out and put them away by himself.
Give information instead of accusation: It is easier to give children information instead of accusation.
- Femi, we use a paper to write. Walls are not for writing on.
Use short words for reminders: Children do not like long explanations, sermons and lectures.
- Instead of enumerating how many times you have told your child what time to go to bed, you could simply say ‘bed time…!’
In summary, it can be very interesting to engage a child’s co-operation using Montessori skills.
- Observe your child and listen to him attentively.
- Acknowledge the child’s expression of his feelings and name them.
- Describe the problem instead of scolding him for not doing it.
- Give information on what to do instead of accusation of what he did wrongly.
- Use short, simple words to remind instead of lectures and sermons.
Parenting can be fun when we are guided by the Montessori philosophy. It is also very rewarding because parents see their children grow in independence, self-confidence, self-expression, focus, concentration, decision-making and internal joy.
Parents and prospective parents would be doing themselves and their children a favour by getting trained in the Montessori Method.