5 Intentional Montessori Parenting Hacks for Encouraging Your Child's Independence
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The Montessori method has been an invaluable tool in my parenting toolkit ever since I had my first kiddo eight years ago. Have you heard of Montessori? It’s an educational philosophy that values the independence of the child, encourages responsibility, and fosters a love of learning and of the world.
You don’t have to put your kids in a Montessori classroom to reap the benefits. Here are 5 intentional parenting hacks to make Montessori a part of your home.
5 Intentional Montessori Parenting Hacks
Follow the child: this is a mantra often said in Montessori circles and it basically means this: observe your child with a neutral mind and see what they are drawn to, what scares them, what excites them, and how they learn. Let them show you their needs; all you have to do is be present and aware of their needs.
Declutter the toys: Montessori focus on few but quality toys. They should be open-ended, meaning that they encourage imagination and curiosity rather than having only one use (think wooden building blocks versus an electronic tablet.) Alternatively, choose toys that help a young child master a necessary skill, use as their fine motor skills (love this coin box.) Less is more, so declutter about 80% of the toys and keep the ones that are well-made, classic, and of natural materials.
Show rather than tell: when introducing a new activity, toy, or chore, use simple motions and few words to demonstrate how to do it. Kids get overwhelmed by too many words and instructions. Let them clearly see you walk them through the entire task. For instance, if you were teaching a child how to sweep the floor, you might slowly show them how to hold the broom, then carefully sweep the room into a small pile, demonstrate holding the dustpan level to the floor and finally, dumping in trashcan. You’re teaching an entire sequence rather than just one action (the sweeping.)
Consider their perspective: crawl around your home on your hands and knees to see it from your toddler or baby’s perspective. See how huge the furniture looks and how are the beautiful pictures on the walls are too high up for them to enjoy? Or how the furniture is too big for them to comfortable enjoy. Introduce a child-sized table and chairs, hang art low on the wall, put hooks for hanging up their clothes where they can reach, and even consider a low floor bed.
Introduce child-sized tools: Show your child how much you appreciate their contributions and role in your home by giving them real (not toy!) tools. You could get them a child-sized broom and dustpan, flatware that actually fits their hands (love this set for my kiddos), and a small pitcher and cups for pouring their own drinks (these stainless ones are perfect for little hands!). Kids love to help, but it can be hard for them to use adult-sized tools. Support their independence and watch them grow!