Montessori At Home - Practical Tips
Help Me to Do it Myself - the Montessori approach places emphasis on the child to help them develop the skills to do things themselves. Observe your child and make changes to their environment to help them grow.
Here are some key learning points covered in our live session with Ms Aleksandra, from Les Oliviers:
1. Less is more. 6-8 toys on low shelves/trays/baskets is enough. Babies love order & repetition and waking up to be able to find their favourite toy where they last left them. Observe your child to see which toys interest them or if they are too easy or too difficult. Swap out toys that are too difficult and re-introduce again next time. You want them to be engaged and sufficiently challenged. For books, ok to rotate 6-8 titles more frequently.
2. Use STOP instead of NO. Stop achieves the same effect and is protective instead of negative.
3. Create a safe space for baby to explore. Perhaps round up items that you don’t want baby to reach in a playpen and let baby have a larger safe space to explore. Lock up drawers with dangerous utensils but leave lower drawers with plastic containers for them to explore.
4. Corners, edges, heights? Let baby explore and experience them right from the start. Knocks, if any would be of lower impact since they are slow and they will learn how to identify these corners, edges and heights and be careful at home as well as outside. Try not to react. Stay calm as baby sometimes react more to our reaction than the pain.
5. Try not to introduce sound toys and screen time till at least 2-3 years old. Active toy - fussy child. Pressing a button of an active toy vs having to engage and focus on a wooden toy - baby learns more from figuring out how to play a non-active toy. This also helps develop concentration! If you see baby focusing on something, let them continue doing it, do not disturb!
6. Food. Our job is to give baby healthy foods, baby gets to decide how much and what to eat. If baby starts throwing food, remain calm (outside at least), show baby where to out reject foods or prevent baby from throwing. In time, they will learn.
I also liked how Ms Aleksandra answered a question on how we can brush baby's teeth. Pro-tip - Make it more fun for baby. Try not to use too much force.
- Offer the toothbrush to baby and let them try to brush.
- Ask baby if they want to brush the top/bottom/tongue first? (this means you get to brush their teeth, but you are empowering them with them being able to where to brush first.)
- Can I brush your teeth?
Want to learn more about Montessori? Learn more in the book Montessori Toddler, by Simone Davies. This comes with plenty of Montessori at Home ideas with simple colour illustrations and photographs. Whether you full agree to Montessori or not, this book is a great resource to help you to connect and build a strong relationship with your toddler!