10 Montessori Home Parenting Tips for Children Under Three

The following ten tips explain how to holistically raise your child the Montessori way at home.

1. Respect your child in every aspect of their life
Understanding and respecting the needs of a young child – especially a toddler is very effective in thwarting meltdowns and temper tantrums. Sometimes, they may simply wake up on the wrong side of the bed – give them extra hugs!

If they are confined to a room or space, they will understandably get upset whenforced to be still and/or quiet because their freedom to move has been thwarted. Respect that they do not want to eat sometimes, which is OK – we also have days when we do not have big appetites.

Respect that they have needs as we do. Being respectful to their needs can also extend to teaching them respect and courtesy by setting good examples. Engaging in gracious and courteous daily interactions, helps children learn grace and courtesy and practice it in routine daily interactions. This respect can transcend to friends, other adults and other living beings as well. If we teach children how to care for animate and inanimate things they can make it part of their being at a very young age.

2. Freedom of Movement
Give them the space and opportunity to move around. Provide them with many opportunities to explore their environment or try new movement possibilities. (Tummy times, pulling up, cruising, etc. for infants and long walks for toddlers – not in a stroller are some examples).Toddlers move at their own pace and with an inner purpose. Recognizing this innate developmental need we need to provide them with many opportunities for movement. As children learn to move, they have an opportunity to develop many skills as they learn to freely explore their environment. As children get older, we need to provide them with many challenges to strengthen their musculoskeletal system by allowing them to plenty of opportunities to run, jump,climb etc.

3. Freedom of Choice
Always give them a choice. This is best when dealing with toddlers and you are engaging in a power struggle. Give them only two choices for things that will involve them. They can have dinner now or they can have it later with everybody else, they can wear the blue or the red shorts with the green top.

4. Teach independence
Give them opportunities to do things for themselves. Children are not to be treated as mini adults who can do all things for themselves; however they are not helpless human beings. Make things easy or simplified for them so that they can actually do things by themselves. For example, have elastic pants instead of denim so that they can try to dress themselves rather than have to ask you to zip up their jeans. At a young age, allow them to feed themselves even though it can be messy, but you are giving them the chance to practice.

5. Communication
Always talk to them properly in a clearly articulated voice. Give them the names of objects around them to increase their vocabulary. Talking to them also involves modelling communication with other adults and listening. Be respectful when talking to them. Do not just communicate to them to tell them to do or not to do something, but have a regular conversation also about how the day went.

6. Teach not by correcting but by modelling
Do not teach by judging whether the child is doing something right or wrong. If a mistake is made, model correctly how to do it. Do not make a big deal out of it; make them aware of their mistakes subtly. In language, if they mispronounce, repeat what they said and pronounce it correctly. You do not have to say that it was wrong, simply model how it should be done.

7. Keep to natural simple materials / toys
There is no need for fancy or flashy toys that do all the work for the child and just leave them watching and being amused for a short period of time. Get toys that encourage children do something with their hands, to drop a ball in a box, or to stack rings to accomplish a task. It can entertain them for long periods of time as they repeat the activity over and over. Do not get toys where they only need to press one button and are left with nothing else. Have materials that deeply involve children to concentrate for more than 2 seconds! TV may hold their attention for a long time but does not involve interaction/manipulation. Montessori believed the work of the hand is very important for the child’s development. Give them toys in which they can manipulate objects. Children under the age of six should not be given electronic toys and games. Games for young children should ideally involve some movement.

8. Patience
What you teach them now will help you in the long run. Do not give in to getting peace and quiet for a few moments to encounter that problem every day. Instead, while it may take a longer time to get a child to learn something, when they do, it does not become an issue any longer.

9. Lastly, love and support them
If you do this, you cannot go wrong with any parenting style you implement! It will be good enough, remember it can never be perfect and mistakes are a part of the growing up process.

Adapted from DailyMontessori.com

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