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.
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.
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.
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.