“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed” – Dr Montessori
It is often described as a relaxed parenting approach where toddlers are given ample freedom to play, work, study and learn. There are no punishments for bending the rules and they are respected for being themselves. You can start this parenting style from birth but to enroll your child in a program it is suggested at 2.5-3 years old.
- Principle 1: Respect for the Child: Listening to the views/opinions of your child, but also not always saying “yes”. Don’t baby them or talk down to the, use complex proper sentences and encourage their use of such vocabulary. Apologize to them when you are wrong, teaching them to do the same.
- Principle 2: The Absorbent Mind: Allow them time to play independently by placing their books, toys etc. on lower shelves where they can be easily reached by the child alone. Obviously always watch them and ensure their safety but make sure they are given broad boundaries in their space.
- Principle 3: Sensitive Periods: By allowing your child to do tasks on their own you are also seeing them make mistakes, get angry, impatient and unhappy. As they spill the water, help them clean up and explain why that happened. Enabling them to understand the cause and effect will help them learn how to prevent it from happening easier.
- Principle 4: The Prepared Environment: Give your child adequate autonomy and allow them to do things themselves. They will want to copy you whether they are pouring a glass of water to drink, or attempting to get dressed on their own. Learn not to step in to do it for them, stay patient and over time these little freedoms will ensure your child’s independence at a very early age.
- Principle 5: Auto education: Follow their path towards what they like doing most. Even if you got them that baby piano but they keep playing with the Legos more. See what pleases them and encourage them without forcing your preferences on them. Form time to time try to get them back to that piano or something else but always, always , always follow their lead.
By following these principles and ensuring that everyone who spends time with your child does the same, you are nourishing your child’s abilities at the highest possible level.