10 Montessori Home Parenting Tips For Children Under 3

The following are tips for parents on how to holistically raise your child the Montessori way at home. This applies across the board for all areas of development of children.

1. Respect your child in every aspect of their life

Simply place yourself in their shoes, why do such a thing? Why are they crying? It can be as simple as they are they woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, which as adults we also experience. Give them extra hugs.

If you are confined in a room or space you would get upset as well as you would also like to have the freedom to be able to move places and not be forced. Respect that they do not want to eat at times, we also have days that 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. Be gracious and courteous to your children and to others as well. This is the best way for them to learn it, if it is used in practice. This respect can transcend to other children, adults and other living things as well. If we teach them how to care for things they can learn it and make it part of their being at a very young age.

2. Freedom of Movement

Give them the space and opportunity to be able to move around. Do not simply “cage” them or have them in one confined place not being able to explore their environment or try new movement possibilities. (Tummy time, pulling up, cruising, etc.) As children get older give them challenges to climb in safe areas. As children learn to move it expands their possibilities for learning by freely exploring their environment

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 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.

8. Use common sense

It does not take rocket science to raise a child; some things just need to involve common sense that seems to be not so common for some. Trust yourself that you are doing the right thing, if it feels right. Most of the Montessori principles involve only common sense and rational thinking.

9. 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. For sleeping, do not make your child dependent on you to rock or pat them or use a dummy, it may take time for them to get used to sleep independently but in the long run you do not need to spend long periods of time putting them to sleep.

10. 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 and faults are all part of the growing up process.

14 Comments on 10 Montessori Home Parenting Tips For Children Under 3

  1. We are in the process of raising a 2nd generation of three siblings ages 5 to 10 in our home and my wife and I are in our mid 50s. While we made plenty of mistakes with the first “wave,” we are applying the principles of love, structure, affirmation, reward and consequences once again. We have seen plenty of examples of “child-centered parenting” in our society, usually in public or social settings and sadly, they are easy to spot. This is a recipe for a child’s unrealistic self image and utter surprise when some authority figure besides mom or dad tells little Johnny or Susie what they can and cannot do. It only magnifies as this young person grows into adulthood. I know I’m speaking out on a Montessori website, but I’m sorry- taking these things to heart is a good way to warp your child and make your job as parents much harder when structure and consequences are facts of life with which they will need to handle correctly.

    • Hmm…I think there might be a misunderstanding here. Structure and natural consequences are one of the cornerstones of Montessori philosophy. Dr. Montessori wrote exstensively in the balance between a child’s freedom and the development of their inner discipline: in other words, self control. She wrote,”To let a child do as he likes, when he has not yet developed any powers of control, is betray the very idea of freedom.” Freedom, in the Montessori context, means freedom for the child to fulfill her developmental potential, not freedom to do whatever she wants.

    • I identify with this comment! I am a firm believer in the Montessori method, but I do recognize its collision with reality at times. My experience is that the reality is not that following the Montessori method would result in a self-centered child. Rather, it is extremely difficult for parents to truly carry out the Montessori methods. The deep respect for the child that Maria Montessori promoted is very challenging to implement in a daily life with young children, especially when parents are overwhelmed with balancing work and home. I fail constantly and it pains me greatly. The introspection and humility required in a Montessori parent sometimes go directly against our human psyche. How do we parents balance following the child with being an effective leader amist so much weaknesses and imperfections in ourselves? In the end, when there are those rare moments when I am at peace and I could truly feel love and respect in my heart (such as when I lower myself to my child’s level and explain in an earnest and emotionally neutral way why I cannot grant him his wishes, my two year olds really responds. Therefore, I know that Montessori ways are superior, but a very difficult path for adults.

  2. i souly believe all these methods are true as i try to use them on my child and even though they dont work all the time it works

  3. @daniell tell your child exactly the reason why the sand is not leaving the bucket as he desires. may be with an example, how wet clother will stick to your body rather than dry clothes. last, try to locate dry sand and show him the difference. if you are

  4. [quote name=”Danielle”]What should I do when my 18 month old gets frustrated with the work he is doing. [/quote]
    I would try to designate his feelings. That way he knows you understand him and care and he learns the name of his feelings. If that doesn’t calm him down, try to guide him verbally through the problem solving process. Intervene as little as possible. This way he has still a chance to solve this problem on its own. If he is getting to frustrated, ask him if he wants a hug or to be picked up. This way he can get a rest, but you don’t make the problem magically go away.

  5. What should I do when my 18 month old gets frustrated with the work he is doing. For example, he is shovelling sand into a bucket but the sand is damp and doesn’t leave the shovel the way he wants it to. He begins to cry but will not leave the work and go onto something else as I recommend. Should I insist he goes onto something else, help him get the sand from out of the shovel, or let him be (while still being available for hugs etc).

    • Dear Danielle your concern is normal. While little ones felt frustrated one way is to draw their attention back to you by doing soothing and high pitch comforting sounds and look at your babies eyes to make her/him feel comfortable and assure, after that you can gently model how to clean the shovel in a playful manner… as you are showing one possible option… your baby will figure it out if that possibility suits her need and calm him/her down… Very good question and thanks for sharing. Your Esteban from Shanghai

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