How to Handle “Bad” Words with Your Kids

As soon as I heard the words “A la gran pu%#!” (the Spanish equivalent of “Holy Sh*&”), I wheeled around in shock. Had my ears deceived me? Could it be that my son had said that? From the looks on the other children’s faces, I knew I had heard correctly.

My immediate instinct was to giggle. After all, there was no way my 6-year-old had any idea what he was saying. He’d just started going to school the week before and had no doubt heard the new vocabulary word from one of his classmates. “Here we go…” I thought.

It’s normal to expect your child to come home with new behaviors and vocabulary once they go to school and start interacting with other kids. Now, it was my job to deal with it.

So, how did I deal with it? What’s an appropriate way to approach “bad” words in the spirit of Montessori parenting? Here’s how I approached the topic:

Bad Words: What Are They?

First, a note on “bad” words. I’m not an anti bad words person. I don’t use them myself, but I don’t mind if other people use them. For me, bad words are words that have very strong meanings that can also be considered rude and offensive by others.

Montessori believed in teaching grace and courtesy to children. Social skills are important! Without them, we can’t get along well with others, create friendships, help others and enjoy a sense of community. These are among the most important things in life!

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How to Keep Your Angry Mom (or Dad) in Check: 5 Strategies

Maria Montessori, creator of the Montessori method, believed in the spiritual preparation of the teacher. We should be calm guides, ready to walk with our children through not only their academic learning but also through learning grace and courtesy. And of course, we are the main example to follow.

For parents, that seems like an impossible ideal, right? Between the spaghetti flinging, temper tantrums, mud-slinging, butt wiping, snack begging, whining and crankiness (of course there are some smiles in there!), you’d have to be a saint to stay calm in every moment. There are those days when things seem to run smoothly and you’re sure you could easily win a parenting trophy. But, as any parent knows, the next day is most likely to be the complete opposite and full of not so proud moments.

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As flawed parents that we are, we are on a continuous journey of learning and improvement. Montessori’s observation that teachers and caretakers of children must prepare themselves spiritually and emotionally to do their work is spot on. We’re much better guides when we’ve prepared our spirits to be excellent models. To become better guides, we must seek out strategies that help us keep our anger, impatience, and frustration in check. But, also remember, it’s impossible to pour from an empty cup, so all of these strategies must be coupled with regular self-care and time for yourself.

How can you keep the angry mom or dad at bay? Here are a few tricks and strategies for helping you keep your calm:

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How to Respond to Defiant Behavior the Montessori Way

“No!” my five-year-old declared, “Cleaning up toys is boring.” He’s usually pretty helpful cleaning up his room and enjoys helping around the house, but sometimes he gets in a mood. When that happens, it can be tempting to turn his defiance into a power struggle. Should I force him into cleaning his room, using my power over him as his mother? It’s certainly tempting. But, what’s the Montessori way to approach defiance?

Here’s how we try to respond to defiance the Montessori way:

Show Empathy

Don’t we all feel frustrated or upset when we are faced with doing something we don’t really want to do? I know I don’t always feel like cleaning or doing work, but, I don’t always get to do exactly what I feel like doing. Sometimes I like to vent to my husband or friends about a task in front of me.

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Montessori for the Christian Home Freebie

I’m so excited to share a great resource with those of you who’ve read my book Montessori for the Christian Home. As promised in the book, here’s how you can get your free God’s creation nomenclature cards.

 

With these cards, your child will practice their language skills while also delving deeper into the creation story. Let me know how it goes in the comments below.

If you haven’t read the book, you’re still more than welcome to the freebie, although I do encourage you to head over to Amazon and pick up your copy 🙂 The information in the book will help give you a fuller understanding of how you can use the nomenclature cards.

How do you get them? Just sign up with your email above and I’ll send you an email with the details of how to gain access to the freebie. If you’d like to share this freebie with your friends, all I ask is that you send them to this blog page so that your friends can also sign up and gain access to the freebie. Thanks so much, and happy learning!

DIY Montessori Sound Pouches: Learn Phonics the Fun Way

Montessori sound pouches have to be at the top of my list of favorite Montessori materials. Why? Because kids love them too! In my experience, sound pouches can be a game changer in building interest in learning phonics, or the sounds that letters of the alphabet make.

Really, this material is like 26 bags of surprises, just waiting to be opened and explored! No wonder kids like it.

On the other hand, this material is so versatile and useful long beyond learning the letter sounds. So, if you’re wondering if you should bother taking the time to make Montessori sound pouches, I say go for it.

In this post, I’ll show you how I’ve made my sound pouches, what sort of items I’ve included in them and a few ways you can use them.

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How to Make Your Own Montessori Sound Pouches

There are many ways to do sound pouches. Some people go for a set of drawers, but I’m partial to the excitement and interest a bag adds. It’s not the same to pull items out of a pouch as pull out a drawer. Somehow the pouch seems more mysterious to me. But, I must say a set of drawers is also very practical.

I made my sound pouches out of old jeans. Yay for recycling! I just eyeballed the cuts, glued the sides with silicon glue (I don’t have a sewing machine – otherwise that would be a more secure option) and added a small loop of yarn to the top left-hand side. I wrote each letter in lowercase on the front of the bag.

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Painting A Canvas: A Fun Preschool or Kindergarten Activity

This is a quick and practical post about a fun activity we enjoyed recently on our trip to the USA (we live full-time in Guatemala). Hope you get some artsy inspiration!

In rummaging through things I still have at my parent’s house, I came across a large canvas. Years ago I had good intentions of painting it. But, with two little ones, I haven’t had time to dedicate to painting. So, I thought, “let’s paint together!”

Here’s how you can easily and successfully paint a canvas, even with young kids!

 

 

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Montessori On the Go Freebies!

Hello dear readers! Many of you visiting this post may have found it after reading Montessori On the Go which is a guide for Montessori inspired travel activities specially designed for 2-6-year-olds. This post includes the information about the Freebies mentioned in the book.

If you haven’t read the book, you’re still welcome to the Freebies, although I do encourage you to head over to Amazon and pick up your copy 🙂 The information in the book will help give you a fuller understanding of the activities included in the Freebie.

What’s in the Freebie? There are 6  travel-friendly/related activities included in the Freebie document. Activities cover a range of topics including reading and language, counting, nature, and geography. See a preview of a few of the activities below:

Quetzal – National Bird of Guatemala

 

 

 

Travel Nomenclature Cards

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Montessori Discipline At Home

Parenting and discipline go together hand in hand. As parents, we must guide our children towards respectful behaviors and interactions with others. But boy is it tough! Creating a balance so that our children feel close to us, but also follow rules and respect boundaries is tricky. The Montessori philosophy offers a wonderful way to approach discipline in a loving way that meets both the children’s and parent’s needs.

This post is going to offer a basic explanation of Montessori discipline and examples of how you might use it. But, before we get to that, I want to take a moment to affirm ourselves as parents. Just about every parent that I know whether they are familiar with Montessori or not (myself included), struggles at times. Perhaps we have a philosophy and ideas for how we’d like to interact with our children and deal with discipline, but, man does life ever get in the way! Emotions, stress, overstimulation, extended family and more can make it seem impossible to stay on track. That doesn’t mean you’re failing! It doesn’t mean you can’t always try to improve either. What I’m getting at is that you should have confidence in yourself as a parent. Since the day you welcomed your child into your family, you became an expert in your child and your own parenting style.

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That being said, let’s take a look at how you might make use of a Montessori discipline approach in the home:

Prevention

The child who concentrates is immensely happy. – Dr. Maria Montessori

The first step of Montessori discipline is avoiding the issues in the first place. Montessori noticed that children were happy when they were concentrating and had an opportunity to contribute to the classroom (or in this case, your home). That means that children need important work to do in the home that they’re interested in and excited about. Whether it’s practical life projects, an art center to enjoy, the ability to engage in a dance party or work in the garden, being busy is the antidote to poor behavior. Permitting independence is another essential part of the method.

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A DIY Montessori Addition Strip Board – And How to Use It!

Peanut has become very interested in math and numbers, so I decided to begin addition. To get started, I decided to make my own DIY Montessori Addition Strip Board.

First, let’s start with why? How did I arrive at the conclusion that this would be a good material for Peanut? There are many ways to do addition with Montessori math materials. Up to this point, Peanut hasn’t shown a whole lot of interest in the bead stair or beads in general. “Mama that’s boring,” he says. So…much to my dismay, no beads. But it’s not about me! It’s about him.

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Why Your Response to “I’m Bored” Doesn’t Have to Be a List of Fun Activities

“I’m bored” “I don’t know what to do.” “What can I do, Mama?” The sounds of summer for some, the sounds of just about every day all year round for others. Kids get bored.

Does it stress you out?

This may not be a popular opinion, but you don’t have to create a boredom plan for every moment of your child’s life. Or maybe this opinion would be more popular if it were more acceptable to follow this advice. Relax, don’t let a bored child get to you. It’s not the end of the world. In fact, it may be the beginning of something good!

Do you ever feel like you need to entertain your children every moment of the day, all day? Perhaps it’s due to an overdose on Pinterest scrolling or the fact that a lot of people you know have enrolled their children in more activities than you can count on one hand. Whatever it is, there is definitely pressure to keep your kids busy with the right activities to help them in their development. Maybe you’re scared that if you DON’T keep your kids busy, you’re not providing them with what they need to succeed.

Rest assured that this is certainly not the case. You can actually help your child by allowing a bit of boredom in their life. Why? There’s a long list of benefits to letting your child figure out how to use their time on their own. What are some of them?

Why Your Response to -I'm Bored- Doesn't Have to Be a List of Fun Activities

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Benefits of Boredom

If your child is allowed to be bored at times, it’s likely they’ll develop the following skills:

  • Independence – Your child will independently find a solution, meaning that they feel more in charge of themselves. Rather than being dependent (the opposite of independent) on an adult to direct them, children find something to do.
  • Creativity – When your child is bored, they are more likely to work hard to come up with something interesting to entertain themself. If you’re riding in the car or in a waiting room, your child might begin imagining a story in their head, searching for certain kinds of cars out the window or similar. However, if your child watches a video or plays a game on your phone instead, this opportunity is lost.
  • Problem-solving skills – The problem? Boredom. The solution? It could be anything really. That’s the beauty of being bored. Your child has the chance to work through this real-life problem and explore their possible responses and reactions. Sometimes your child might whine or get angry. Sometimes they might wander around the house or wherever you are to seek ideas for what to do. You can help your child cultivate healthy coping mechanisms for boredom. More on these later.
  • Boosts self-motivation  Ever used an exciting opening to get your child to try a new activity? You might use an enthusiastic tone of voice, or explain what the benefits of the activity will be. When your child is bored and allowed to struggle through it until they pick an activity on their own, they have to be their own motivator. With no outside voice telling them how much fun it will be to build a Lego replica of the empire state building, they’ll have to discover the motivation to undertake such an activity on their own.

If you’re curious to learn what psychologists are saying about the importance of children experiencing boredom, check out this article.

What did Montessori say?

Montessori believed that children needed to build skills to become independent. That’s one of the reasons why she emphasized practical life so strongly, especially for the youngest students. In addition, in any Montessori classroom, children are in charge of picking meaningful activities to engage in. Although guidance is provided from teachers, children are largely responsible for picking their own work.

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