Often people feel overwhelmed when trying to incorporate Montessori into their everyday life, but becoming a Montessori parent is much easier than you may think.
Becoming a Montessori parent means incorporating the five principles of the Montessori method into your everyday life. Being a Montessori parent means taking a more relaxed, respectful approach to parenting while providing your child with ample learning opportunities.
Being a Montessori parent is a lifestyle choice. It means parenting with intention in a relaxed and respectful way. So, how do you become a Montessori parent?
How to Become a Montessori Parent
Being a Montessori parent involves much more than purchasing or creating the correct Montessori materials or creating an aesthetically pleasing prepared environment in the home. Becoming a Montessori parent means practicing and incorporating the five principles of the Montessori method into your everyday life.
The Montessori method is a child-directed learning method that helps foster independence in children. A Montessori parent constantly observes their child to ensure they find the right balance between independence and supervision.
The five principles of the Montessori method are respect for the child, the absorbent mind, the prepared environment, sensitive periods, and auto education. When applied to parenting, the principles look slightly different from how they would in a classroom. However, these principles should influence the way you interact with your child at all times of the day.
How do you apply these principles to parenting?
Step 1 – Respect Your Child
Respecting your child is the first step to becoming a Montessori parent. This means respecting them as the little person they are and the person they will become. Respecting your child means recognizing that they have thoughts and feelings that should be listened to, validated and engaged with.
What does respecting your child look like?
- Listening to your child’s opinions and engaging with them from a place of respect will help you to get to know your child.
- Respecting that your child is in control of their body. This means not forcing them to show affection to an adult when they do not want to. A Montessori parent will end physical contact when he or she asks you to.
- A Montessori parent does not punish a child when they make a mistake. Instead, they allow the child to learn from the mistake. Rewards are not a part of the Montessori parent’s vocabulary because the aim is for a child’s behavior to be propelled by their desire, not for a reward.
- Apologizing to your child when you are in the wrong.
Step 2 – Understand the Absorbent Mind
To become a Montessori parent, you need to understand that your child is constantly learning and absorbing information from a young age.
Understanding the principle of the absorbent mind means being aware that your child sees, interprets, and internalizes everything around them. Your child may watch you pour some cereal into a bowl or make a snack and want to copy you. A Montessori parent will allow their child to prepare their snack or to pour their water into a cup.
A Montessori parent can provide stimuli for a child’s absorbent mind. Examples include; reading to your child, modeling healthy and appropriate behavior, and going for walks. A Montessori parent does not ‘actively educate.’
Step 3 – Prepare the Home Environment
It is necessary to prepare your home so that it can be shared by your child if you wish to become a Montessori parent. It is important that your child feels that your home is their home and that they can explore and experience that home independently and safely.
Preparing your home to align with Montessori principles, means ensuring all toys, books, and puzzles are placed on a low enough shelf that your child can access them without help. This extends to clothing, bathroom activities and snacks.
Montessori parents not only share their home with their children but their life. Being a Montessori parent means including and involving your child in the day-to-day activities of the home.
Your child may like to help you prepare the evening meal, or unload the dishwasher, both are great ways to include your child. Participating in these activities or activities that your child can safely participate in gives them a sense of purpose, and helps them to feel part of their family.
Check out our full article on the prepared environment for more information.
What is a Montessori Mom?
A Montessori mom (or dad!) is a parent who respects their child, showing them patience and kindness. This means a Montessori mom acknowledges her child when they are speaking, and actively engages with them. Similarly, a Montessori mom validates their child’s emotions. (Check out our full article on the overlapping principles of Montessori and Gentle Parenting here.)
A mom who has aligned her parenting ethos with Montessori principles, parents with intent, meaning they observe their child and parent with the knowledge learned from their observations.
Montessori moms allow their children to be themselves. They give their children the freedom to face challenges and overcome them in their way and time. Children are given the freedom to explore their interests and enjoy their own company.
Simply put, a Montessori mom will pay attention to what their child is naturally drawn to and to what makes them upset or happy. This is to see what the child is naturally interested in and to understand their needs. A mom who follows Montessori principles will then align their actions and parenting to these observations.
Montessori parenting means preparing your home to ensure that children feel like they are a part of the family and the broader community. A Montessori mom allows her child to engage in the daily activities of the home, gently guiding during these moments but never controlling her children’s actions or participation.
What are Montessori Parents Like?
Montessori parents are parents who approach their role in a more relaxed manner. They guide their children but allow ample opportunities for learning and independent play. Montessori parents are patient with their children, as well as respectful of their children. Montessori parents empower their children, setting them up for success.
The Montessori method is a child-directed approach to learning that helps to foster independence in children. The Montessori parent gives their child space to explore the world they live in for an uninterrupted period, mirroring the uninterrupted work cycle in the Montessori classroom.
It is important to remember that you can still be a Montessori parent if you do not have access to all of the specialized materials. Respecting your child, ensuring their toys and materials are easily accessible, and allowing them to be independent, are all simple ways you can start your journey to becoming a Montessori parent.