You might have heard about Montessori schools and might have decided to put your child in Montessori program because someone might have told you that your child is smart and should attend a Montessori program, or, out of social pressure since your friend’s child is going to a Montessori preschool. Have you thought if you follow Montessori philosophy at home too? If not, why not? Some people think that Montessori environment means all toys made of wood, and it’s expensive to buy wood toys in this plastic age. But is it true? Is it so difficult to adopt Montessori philosophy at home?
Let’s understand first the basic meaning and goal of Montessori. It’s a philosophy and just a different way to prepare a child for the world. It’s a way to prepare and raise an independent child. It’s a motivation to make your child aware of the environment and to teach him to make an informed decision. It’s a habit of not saying “No” without an explanation. It’s about giving authority to your child to pick what they want to do. It’s a world where every child matters.
Let’s start from some basics. Following are some basic steps you can follow to be a Montessori parent:
Think twice before making your house childproof. Do you really need to put a child lock on this cabinet? If there are some sharp object or something that might hurt your child, then definitely yes. But if there is a cabinet where you are putting a child lock just because you don’t want to clean up the mess after, then rethink about it. There must be things there that your child will play with and would develop some motor skills or cognitive skills. Your child might want to play with all your tupper wares and build some understanding of the sizes – big, medium, and small. He might be able to do the sorting too depending on the age.
Why don’t you include your child in your daily chores? When you are washing rice, have him wash the rice to give him the sensory experience. When folding laundry, give him all the socks to make pairs. These are just few examples of involving your child in the daily chores. You will be amazed to see the look on his face with a mixed feeling of achievement and to offer a helping hand.
Let’s make a habit of not saying “no” for no reason. Think twice before saying “no”. If your child is doing something wrong, have him sit down, look into your eyes and explain why it’s a wrong thing to do. You might have to do this 20 times, but your child will understand the meaning of “no”. While explaining if you warned him of some consequence, make sure to stick to your words. Associate consequence to an action, if you are sure that it’s executable. For example, if you said “you will not be able to park today, if you are going to hit your little friend”. Make sure to cancel your park visit that evening, and remind your child multiple times that his action was the reason of this consequence.
Play with your child. Irrespective of your schedule, how busy your life is, how much you have to commute each day, always spend 10-15 minutes with your child every day. That time can be decided based on your own routine. Read to your child, talk to your child, ask your child about his day, tell him about your day – this will develop the responsibility sense in your child. You child will feel important that his day matters to you and also, will try to visualize your day.
There are so many other ways for you to be a Montessori Parent, if that’s even a real term. The basic idea is to consider your child as a person, and not just a liability to take care of. Enjoy your child, share your emotions with your child, try to understand his emotions, make him involve in the daily chores, have him clean with you, make him cook with you. There is a person in your house whose world revolves around you. Enjoy the attention and make him a good person.
Note: Child is being referred to as "he" in the article for no specific reason or preference