Skip to main content

Choice and Respect -- Montessori Young Toddler Week 1

I asked after my last post if anyone wanted me to continue my weekly baby series for another year, and the answer was a resounding "yes!" So, here we are! Another year, at some point I'll have to call this a toddler series, but for now I will stick with baby. I make no promises or guarantees about finishing it, but I will do my best! 

Montessori at it's core is about respect for the child. This includes respecting the child's own unique developmental path, respecting a child's choices, respecting a child's feelings, respecting that a child has different opinions, and so much more. But, there are times when as the adult you know that something has to occur, and in those moments a child may not want to stick with your plan. And then this can feel tricky. You want to show respect, but something still needs to get done. A child needs to take medicine, for example. Or a child can't run into a street. Or you need to take the child somewhere. 

Montessori Parenting: Showing respect and offering choices in difficult moments

For us, for Augustus, our challenge is ankle braces. I haven't talked specifically about this in awhile, but Gus faces some physical challenges. He was born with torticollis, that led us to physical therapy. This led to the discovery of his super low muscle tone. Along the way there has been some gross motor and developmental delay thrown in there. 

All of this led to Gus needing ankle braces a couple of weeks ago. These braces (AFOs) help to support his ankles as he stands and walks. His physical therapist discovered that his ankles could not support him and were collapsing inward as he started to stand and walk on his own. This can lead to long term damage to his foot development and to his joints. So as much as I hate having socks and shoes on my babies, it has to be done. And, he will wear them all the time for the foreseeable future. 

Montessori Parenting: Showing respect and offering choices in difficult moments

Back to respect, how do you introduce something mandatory with respect? Well first, you really need to ask yourself if this is necessary. I mean really. Can your needs wait? Does it HAVE to happen? If it does, then the answer is CHOICE. 

Not your choice, but the child's. How can you offer choice in the situation? How can you give your child independence, autonomy? Even if it's a small part of whatever needs to be done. For Gus, its asking him which brace he would like to place on his foot first, which pair of socks he would like to wear, which shoe should we place. It is giving him TIME to check these things out and to process what has to happen. There are times when he just wants a minute to play before sitting to put everything on. And, if we can give him that we will. 

Even with small babies, offer a choice! Give them some time. Give them some information. Show them respect. It doesn't mean that you can't get what you need to get done, done. Just that things may get done a little differently. 

How do you show respect to your child in tough moments? Do you have experience with AFOs in a Montessori setting? If you do, I would love your thoughts! 



Unknown said…
THis is timely. All of a sudden my 11 month old daughter sometimes cries when I am trying to dress her in the morning. She already picks the outfit she's going to wear from a choice of 2, but now I'm thinking I need to let her have a minute or two to explore her clothes before she gets dressed. I know as she gets older she will become more involved in the process.
Karen said…
Teeth brushing has been more and more of a struggle since my daughter’s 2 year molars started coming in. She gets to choose where we brush (on a step stool at the mirror, on mommy’s lap, standing on the floor.) And I always offer her a turn with the toothbrush first. Lately ANY option is greeted with a hearty “NO!” though so it’s still a work in progress.

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2020

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure! 2020 UPDATE: This list is updated for another year! Enjoy a variety of Montessori friendly finds from both major retailers and smaller shops!  So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created toys, but only works for classroom settings. While there are many works that I recommend for home school use, you won't find these

Sensitive Periods from Birth to 6 - A Chart and Guide

Dr. Maria Montessori spent her life observing, studying, and writing about children. During her lifetime of work she discovered that young children move through a series of special times when they are particularly attracted to specific developmental needs and interests. She called these times, sensitive periods. During the sensitive period, children learn skills related to the sensitive period with ease. They don't tire of that work, but seek it, crave it and need it. When the sensitive period passes, this intense desire is gone, never to return.  That doesn't mean the skill is lost forever once the sensitive period is over. Instead, it just means that it will take a more conscious effort to learn. As Dr. Montessori explains,  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. "A child learns to adjust himself and make acquisitions in his sensitive periods. These are like a beam that lights interiorly a battery that furnishes energy. It is this sensibility which enables

Our Kids' Montessori Gift Lists 2020

With the holiday season upon us we've been making lists and gathering gifts for the Kavanaugh children. It's always a fun process of observing my children, seeing what they would really be interested in and making some decisions based on what I see. This year is different because I'm also making decisions knowing that we are looking at a very long and quiet winter ahead. So that's influencing the amount I will buy and the specific choices I will/have made.  Henry and Nora are also at the point, being into the second plane of development, where they heavily influence the items on the list and what is ultimately purchased. So, you'll see that while Montessori influences what I will purchase and what goes on their list, so does their own preferences and personality.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Theodore Teddy is 14-months-old right now and as the fourth baby, we have so many toddler things. But, there are a few things I've still found tha