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November 30, 2021

Montessori Prepared Adults Wait

In Montessori, adults play an important role - that of the prepared adult. We are called prepared adults for many reasons and we have many roles to play. But, as parents, how can we become prepared? Often, it's simple little changes we can make in our behavior toward children that help us take on the role of the prepared adult. One of the easiest, and most important, things we can do as prepared adults is simply wait.

Right now we are entering the holiday season, and my 2-year-old Teddy provided me with the perfect example of my own need to wait. We were outside trying to get back in from a school pickup and he stopped and looked at every single Christmas bulb hung along the path to our house. Slowly he even lowered himself to the ground to look at those near the bottom. That exploration required me to access some serious patience, and just wait for him to be done with this important work. Same when Gus recently got a new lego set for his fifth birthday. Waiting for him to figure out where to put each piece. 

Waiting as a Montessori Prepared Adult

Waiting can look different for every child and every situation. Here are a few ways that a prepared adult can wait for their child. 

With Babies...
  • wait until they have finished working to move them to the next activity
  • wait until they look away to shift your gaze 
  • wait for them to respond (even if just by a look) to something you are saying to them
  • wait after tell them you are going to do something to their bodies for them to process 
With Toddlers...
  • wait for them try and complete a task on their own
  • wait for them to be done exploring something before transitioning to something else
  • wait for them to answer questions or participate in conversations
  • wait for them to be ready for materials and work 
With Preschoolers...
  • wait for them to comply with requests
  • wait for them to complete chosen activities
  • wait for them to finish speaking
  • wait for them to be done with a hug or cuddle before moving on  
With Elementary kids...
  • wait for them to find the answer 
  • wait for them to ask the question before giving all the information
  • wait for them to come up with solutions 

Waiting offers opportunities for independence. Waiting offers respect. Waiting is a simple way to acknowledge the developmental stage that your child is at and what they are ready for. Waiting helps us remember that their brains process information more slowly than adults. Waiting helps them engage in a meaningful way. Today, wait. 

How do you wait for your children?


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