Four Parenting Strategies to Better Connect With Your Child
Let’s face it, parenting is hard and can be challenging at times. Whether your child is already enrolled as a student at Villa Montessori Preschool, or you are thinking about joining our community, we want to help you bring Montessori home by offering you some helpful parenting tips.
At Villa Montessori Preschool, we strive to follow the principles developed by Dr. Maria Montessori who believed in nurturing the whole child — academically, emotionally, physically, and socially. We believe that this can best be accomplished when school and home are working towards the same goal together – nurturing a curious learner who is independent and confident. By incorporating some key Montessori principles into your parenting, you will likely cause your child to feel more heard, seen and valued in your family. You will also find that you and your child will have a closer, more connected relationship as you meet your child’s needs and interests.
By applying a few Montessori parenting strategies that can be learned and practiced by any parent, we hope to help you build that connection. The first step is better engagement and here is how you can start today…
Guide The Child
There is a saying that all Montessorians use and absolutely believe in – “follow the child.” But what does this actually mean? There is a common misconception that “follow the child” means that the child has complete freedom to do whatever they want whenever they want. This could not be further from the truth! Rather, the true meaning is that teachers and parents alike can build trust and a respectful relationship with the child by using observations to see where their interests lie, and can use these observations to guide the child’s natural path.
Follow the child means noticing what your child is interested in and finding a way to work that into your life. Find out what your child is interested in today. Follow the child may mean a trip to the park with climbing equipment, if you see them climbing all over the furniture; or it might mean a long walk where you may not get far because your child is interested in stopping frequently and examining an insect or plant.
Set Safe Limits
Setting safe limits is also an important part of guiding the child. Even though they may be interested in an activity, it is ok to step in and stop behavior that is not acceptable or that you don’t like. Children want independence and freedom to discover life on their own, but they also need boundaries to help them feel safe. For example, they may have the freedom to choose what book to read at bedtime, but the limit is they can only choose four books. Remember that young children crave order and predictability and need to know the clear boundaries we set as parents. When these boundaries are blurred is when children begin testing their limits to see what is and is not acceptable, until they can predict their boundaries again.
When our lives get busy, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that young children want to spend time with their parents. You are, after all, your child’s first and best teacher. You should do your best to spend time with your child indoors or outside. So much joy comes from watching your child play and experience the world around them. This precious time together gives you the opportunity to learn your child’s needs and desires. It is also important to realize that it’s not always about the toys that make the most noise or are the most popular. Children discover their place in the environment around them by feeling a part of their family’s daily activities. Involve your child in activities you do such as cleaning, reading, and cooking. You will be surprised to discover that your child is capable of helping around the house. Not only will they find enjoyment out of helping you, but they will also develop a sense of belonging that makes them feel wanted and valued as an integral part of their environment.
Show vs. Tell
Setting up a play space where your child can reach things on their own fosters independence and confidence as they make their own decisions. Showing a child how to do something versus just telling them how to do itgives them an opportunity to use all their senses in learning a new skill. Providing ample opportunity for your child to use their own hands to discover how to do things is much more meaningful to them than just telling them what to do.
Being a Montessori parent means being a connected parent who uses observations to better understand your child’s needs and interests. Practicing these skills will bring a different dynamic to your relationship with your child and he or she will likely feel more secure and valued in your family.
To learn more about Villa Montessori Columbus and the key principles we use to educate the whole child – including children like yours – call 614-721-4410 or email info@VillaMontessoriPolaris.com to arrange a tour!