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March 13, 2024

3 Things I Teach my Children from Birth as a Montessori Mom

Sometimes there's a misconception on the internet that Montessori is all about teaching children - that our main focus is math, reading, or writing. And I think this comes from the unique approach that Montessori takes toward academic work. The materials are extremely unique, the timing and the pace can also be very different from mainstream school approaches. But, the reality is that as a Montessori parent my primary focus is not on teaching academics. 

But, that doesn't mean I'm not teaching my children things from birth. While I'm feeling zero pressure to teach my babies and toddlers letters, numbers, and facts. As a Montessori parent, I'm hopefully teaching them far more important lessons. Montessori is a method that is deeply rooted in respect for the child, in love for the child, and a belief that the child holds within them the future. With these beliefs in mind, here are three things I'm teaching my children from birth as a Montessori parent. 

Lesson 1 - You have support 

I want them to learn from birth, they always have support. As babies this looks like supported sleep, responding to their cues and communication, being physically present and close as needed. For toddlers and preschoolers, this looks like helping when asked, this looks like preparing the environment for success, it means being responsive when emotions bubble up. 

In the second plane of development, this looks like continuing to provide physical support even when we think they are old enough to do it themselves, and it's about saying yes to big ideas. Into adolescence, support looks like being the hype-man. It's about believing in them, connecting them to other adults who can support their goals, and being there to provide boundaries should they need them. 

Lesson 2 - You are capable 

I want my children to learn from birth that they are capable! They are able to do the things they want to do. For babies and toddlers this lesson looks like slowing way down with my children so that they can participate in daily life. It looks like offering them meaningful choices. For preschoolers, this looks like giving them meaningful work with tools that are sometimes not seen in traditional environment. This means preparing your environment for independent work and sitting back to let them do it. 

For children in the second plane of development, again it looks like saying yes to big ideas! It looks like sitting back a little bit while they wrestle with a problem and it looks like continuing to prepare the environment in a way that allows for meaningful choices. Into the adolescent years, this looks like trust. It looks like letting go in someways while being a safety net in others. 

Lesson 3 - You are allowed to have feelings

I want my children to know that they are allowed to have all types of feelings - not just happy ones. As babies this means not shushing their feelings away but helping naming and co-regulating their emotions as they need it. For toddlers and preschoolers this looks like validating feelings, avoiding shame and distractions techniques when bigger feelings crop up. 

For second plane and adolescent age kids it is a lot of the same as for younger kids. But there is also a lot of forgiving of verbal emotions. While we want to teach respect for others, we are understanding that emotions present themselves in a variety of ways and their brains are still learning emotional control. We circle back to them in moments of calm and help teach them about emotions, not shame or punish for what is said in the heat of the moment. 

There are so many things that I hope my children learn in this world. And Montessori offers them so many incredible opportunities for learning and growth. But, if my children only come away from their childhoods knowing these three things, I will be happy with that! 

What lessons do you hope to teach your kids as a Montessori parent? 

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