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Taking a Pause

We have a big bench at our dining room table instead of chairs on one side. While I love the bench, it can also be a bit tricky for toddlers to navigate since it has nothing to prevent them from falling forward or backward. Anyway, the point of this story isn't the bench, but the importance of "the pause."

Recently, I was watching Gus trying to sit at the kitchen table. He chose to sit on the bench and pulled it way out out away from the table. At that moment, my initial feeling was to jump in and say something. My gut was to remind him that he could fall off both sides while trying to reach the table. But, instead of jumping in, I took pause. Just for a moment to see what would happen. 

Thoughts on taking "a pause" as a Montessori parenting trick that helps to respond more effectively to a child

In that brief moment, Gus attempted to climb onto the bench, but then stopped himself. He looked at the bench and said, "no, this too far from the table, I will fall off and bump my head." Then, he moved the bench to an appropriate spot and sat safely at the table.

Taking those few seconds - that pause - is so important to me as a Montessori parent. It's those moments of observation that give me a better perspective about what is going on. A lot of the time I can assume what the outcome of my child's actions might be and react without really knowing. 

Thoughts on taking "a pause" as a Montessori parenting trick that helps to respond more effectively to a child

A little bit of a delayed reaction can be a great thing. Here are some benefits that I see from taking a pause before responding to our child: 
  • you get a moment to observe and discover your child's abilities and intentions
  • your child gets to problem solve and gain confidence in completing tasks and making decisions before you jump in
  • you get to collect your thoughts and respond calmly and with intention
  • it stops us from making assumptions about what your child is doing 
So next time you have that gut feeling that you want to jump in and correct/help/do for your child, take a pause. Use that feeling as a reminder to observe. It doesn't have to be a long time - 10/15 seconds - and then reevaluate. Is your child doing alright? Can you offer a tip? Do you need to stop the behavior? Is there a reason for this behavior? How can I best respond with respect to the situation? 

Thoughts on taking "a pause" as a Montessori parenting trick that helps to respond more effectively to a child

There's a lot to learn in a couple of moments. So take them. Give your child a moment, take the pause. 

Have you incorporated a pause into your reactions with your child? 

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