When I first got in touch with Montessori parenting, I thought Montessori seem to be such a big and complicated topic and it would take forever to understand it, let alone practice it. But as I get more into it, I realized, there are so many practical tips, I can apply immediately, without having to be an expert of the whole theory. It is one of things that I love the most about Montessori parenting, it is extremely practical. Here are the 3 tips for your fellow parents, to just read and apply!
Follow the children, instead of suggesting 'Let's do….'
This one feels obvious, but I know it is actually hard to give up on taking the lead, when you have something to do later. I won't apply this in the morning on a working day, when I am getting her ready to go to the nursery. That is why I usually block out a period of time, where I do not have anything else planned but to spend time with Lili (my 1 year 11 months old daughter) and to just be in her presence.
After following her interest and moves, I am more relaxed and present myself too.
Stop quizzing children, only do that when you are 100% sure they know the answer
Opps! I am so guilty of that. I used to ask Lili all sorta silly questions, sometimes to get interact with her, sometimes just to show off in front my parents, how much she knows. 'Lili, what is this? 'while pointing at the lion in a picture book.
I did not know when I quizzed my daughter, I put her under a test mode. And there is usually only one correct answer to the question. When her answer is a tiger instead of a lion, I tend to correct her with 'no, it is not a tiger, it is a lion'. Yes, I did provide her a factual information: a lion looks like that and a tiger doesn't. But this isn't really the point at this stage of her development, there are other more important things such as building up self-confidence and arousing her inner curiosity. Instead, I can ask open questions, how do you feel today? What did you do in the nursery today? I can continue to name things for her and observe, how much she has mastered and how much she is still learning.
Putting the material back when finished with the play
I used to spend at least 15 minutes per day after Lili goes to bed, to tidy up her toys on the floor. It is not my favorite part of the day if I am totally honest. I later realized, if I start courage Lili to her toys back to where they belong, not long I am doing myself a favor but also helping her to cultivate a sense of order and independence.
I first bought a classic Montessori square low board and assigned each square to a particular toy. I then suggest to Lili, when I know she is finished with her toys, can you please put them back to where you found them? She sometimes will just do that. But almost of the time she will start negotiating with me, 'Mama puts it back' Then I would say, 'Let's put it back together'. She usually answers with a happy YES!
After a while, she knows there is a beginning and an end to a play and our living room is a lot livable 😊
Happy playing, Mamas and Papas:)