"What should I buy my child? What are your favorite wooden toys? We are buying more Montessori toys, what should I get? My child's birthday is coming up..."
I see these types of questions in Montessori circles all the time. And, I'm asked these questions all the time. The emphasis placed on things in our culture can sometimes make these the easy questions to ask. And, honestly, the easy question to answer. But, there is SO much more to being a Montessori parent than wooden toys and tiny furniture. But, this "stuff" is harder to "get."
There are so many other things that Montessori parents can give their children, and for me one of the most important -- yet, hardest -- is time. There is so little time in all of our lives. So many distractions, so many activities, so many things, so many expectations. Time is scarce.
They need time to explore freely. As babies and toddlers to explore their environment and the natural world. Then, as young children the time to explore their own interests, desires and continue their exploration of the world around them.
They need time to play. In the famous words of Maria Montessori -- "Play is the work of the child." They need time to play, and really play. Uninterrupted by the schedule, the demands of adulthood or life. But, don't confuse play with entertainment -- let them lead.
They need time to try. Children need to try things for their own. They need time to try to put their shoes on, or coat. They need time to try and set the table. To pick their own outfit. I know for me, its so much quicker and easier to do these things myself, but this serves only me.
They need time to struggle. Adults often see "struggle" as a bad word. But, children are taught to avoid the struggle when we jump in for them. Giving them time to struggle to complete a task lets them feel the joy of accomplishment -- something we can never give them, they have to earn that themselves. I'm not saying we should leave children in distress, but give them time before we step in.
So, next time you want to make your home "more Montessori" or you want to give something to your child, think about time! How can you give more time to your children? Do they have their own time? Are they free to play, explore, and struggle?
If you liked this post, don't miss: A Montessori Moment