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.

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

Pin it!

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.

Continue reading

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

Pin It!

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.

Continue reading

Hug Your Way to an Independent Child

“Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama!” is about the way a few hours of every day goes for me with my 17 month old. She insistently calls for me and wants to be held, hugged and paid attention to. So, we read books, sing together, cuddle, and sometimes often times I find myself completing tasks with one hand while she’s happily perched on my hip.

But, like many moms, I put up with it and try to enjoy it as much as I can. She’ll only be this little so long. I know that it’s only a matter of time before she becomes more independent.

My nearly four-year-old on the other hand is quite independent. He likes the occasional snuggle and asks to be played with from time to time. But, most of the time he can be found happily digging with his  trucks in the dirt, coloring pictures beside me while I work or making up an intricate story line with a few model dinosaurs. He also likes to help wash dishes and hang up laundry or page through a book.

As a baby and toddler, my son was similar to my daughter. He was attached to me or his father at most times. While he enjoyed wandering off on his own to play for a while, he was more often than not like velcro.

That’s my real life experience that shows me that being close and connected leads to independence. But, there’s more to it than one mom’s journey.

Hug Your Way to an Independent Child (1)

Pin it!

Continue reading

What are Sensitive Periods and How Can You Use Them? Montessori Applied to Parenting

What are Sensitive Periods and How Can You Use Them? Montessori Applied to Parenting

It must be some sort of rule. All toddlers seem to LOVE water play. And have you ever noticed how at a certain stage, babies become determined to move on their own, struggling until they achieve the ability to walk?

These are examples of sensitive periods.

Throughout childhood, children experience a number of sensitive periods. Some last for years at a time, and others may only last several months. Montessori coined the phrase “sensitive periods” to refer to times when children have an especially strong motivation and interest to learn about a particular subject or master a certain skill. In her observations, she discovered that many children share a lot of the same interests around the same time in their development.

What are Sensitive Periods and How Can You Use Them? Montessori Applied to Parenting

Pin it!

How Can You Use Them?

As parents and teachers, we can take advantage of these sensitive periods to help guide our children’s learning. A perfect example is language. Montessori noticed that children experience a sensitive period in language from birth through about age 6.

Continue reading

5 Unconventional Parenting Hacks That Keep Me Sane

unconventional parenting hacks

There are so many parenting hacks out there, but not all of them are mainstream. Each parent finds their own unique ways (or parenting hacks) of dealing with the joys and challenges of parenting. Some of mine are on the wacky side – I’d definitely say some of them are unconventional…but they also keep me sane (well, most of the time, anyway). These are the parenting hacks I notice others occasionally give me a raised eyebrow about…but hey, to each their own and I’m glad to say that I’ve found what works for me. Here they are:

parenting hacks

Pin it!

  Continue reading

How to Make Positive Reinforcement Helpful: A Montessori Perspective

How to Make Positive Reinforcement Helpful A Montessori Perspective

Positive reinforcement is a popular parenting technique. Basically it means parents and caregivers praise good behavior. This way, children are motivated to continue their good behavior due to the positive attention they’ve received. Positive reinforcement can also include sticker charts and other similar incentives. All sounds good, right?

Yes and no.

Positive reinforcement can be very helpful for children. It can help them learn that good behavior is appreciated and that their efforts pay off. But, it can also turn into a big happy praise fest that teaches your child that they are the BEST, in the worst cases resulting in narcissism.

How to Make Positive Reinforcement Helpful- A Montessori Perspective

Pin it!

Continue reading

An Advent Calendar for Kids PLUS Activities

advent calendar for kids

One of my parenting goals this year is to teach my oldest about advent. What better way than through an advent calendar for kids plus daily activities? The combination of reading a bible verse and doing some fun holiday activities such as making decorations, baking cookies and setting up the nativity scene not only teaches about the meaning of Christmas, but will also bring us closer together as a family.

Make Your Own Advent Calendar for Kids

We had lots of fun making the advent calendar together. The basic idea of this calendar is that each day we’ll break open one of the numbers. This is very appealing to Peanut…he can’t wait to punch through the paper to see what’s inside! I also find it quite tempting, I must admit. Inside are 2 slips of paper, one is a Bible verse and one is an advent activity, and a small piece of candy for each of my kids.

advent calendar for kids

Pin it!

Continue reading

How to Stop Hitting, Biting, Kicking and Throwing: Practical Techniques for Teaching Little Ones How to Handle BIG Feelings

how to stop hitting biting-kicking-and-throwing

First of all, relax. If you want to know how to stop hitting, biting, kicking, etc. you’re on the right track.

Second of all, it’s highly likely your precious little one WILL stop hitting, biting, kicking and throwing soon. As a very wise school counselor once pointed out to me, “How many adults do you know that hit and bite?” So, yes, there will be an end to this.

Third, know you’re not alone. All experts seem to agree that hitting and biting are common in young children. Although it can be tiring and frustrating to deal with, it is relatively normal.

But…there’s always a but…

What will also happen is that your child will learn other coping mechanisms for dealing with big feelings. One big factor that will help your child leave these behaviors behind is improvement in their ability to communicate. Language is often a point of frustration for little ones who can’t say what they feel or what they want. As language skills improve, so does behavior.

It’s also likely that your child will adopt a coping mechanism learned from you or other influential adults in their life. Some common coping mechanisms for big feelings such as anger, fear and frustration include:

  • Bottling it up (which can often result in a tummy-ache, stress, headaches, etc.)
  • Aggressive behaviors such as yelling
  • Positive outlets for feelings such as taking deep breathes, exercising, etc.

I think most people would opt for teaching their child positive outlets for anger, fear and frustration, but maybe you’re not sure how to do this. Luckily, teaching these techniques goes hand in hand with eliminating hitting, biting, kicking and throwing things.

Now, let’s discuss those techniques for teaching your little one how to stop hitting and handle strong feelings:

how-to-stop-hitting-biting-kicking-and-throwing

Continue reading

I’m an Author! Montessori At Home Guide: Self-Care For 2-6 Year Olds

Montessori self-care

The book’s been out for awhile, but I’ve finally gotten around to sharing it here! Sterling Productions approached me to write this ebook on self-care for 2-6-year olds and I was thrilled to accept the opportunity.

This is a short, basic guide to help parents show their children the way in learning self-care. Through self-care, independence is encouraged and children learn to take care of many basic tasks on their own. The lessons cover everything from hygiene and dressing to eating, safety and manners. The book is structured in a user-friendly way so that you can pinpoint exactly what you’re looking to teach and find some creative, helpful, Montessori inspired ideas for working with your little one.

montessori-self-care-guide

Continue reading

How to Follow Your Child, Even When It’s Tough: Montessori Parenting Techniques

How to Follow Your Child, Even When It's Tough- Montessori Parenting Techniques

Children always show adults what they need. Their natural curiosity and interests lead them to engage in activities that help them learn and grow. Even in misbehavior and acting out, children communicate what they need. It is our job as parents to observe, analyze and follow our children to meet their needs and help them grow.

Montessori on Following the Child

Many parents would love to better understand their children. Following the child is a great way to do this. However, this pillar of Montessori education is often misinterpreted. People think the child is in charge and allowed to do whatever they want. It’s a bit more complex. Let’s take a look.

Montessori said:

Respect all the reasonable forms of activity in which the child engages and try to understand them.

Take baby girl for example. She’s 14 months old and likes to go to the bathroom with me. I allow her to, for a number of reasons, and she always tries to put her hands in the toilet. Rather than scolding her, I try to understand her. This is a way to follow her. I search for meaning in her actions. She’s clearly interested in learning about water and the sensory experience it gives her. So, without allowing her to play in the toilet, I offer her an opportunity to play with water outside the bathroom. I set a limit and offer an alternative to fulfill her needs.

Simple enough…but what about those more difficult behaviors?

Follow your child, even when it gets tough Montessori Parenting Techniques

Continue reading