I know you are not all Montessori parents, but I thought this would still be interesting and it can apply to everyone! I originally wrote this as a list for myself, to remind myself of what is important. It’s easy for us to get caught up in the busyness of everyday life. Here are my notes.
1) Don’t clutter up the children’s spaces. Leave lots of open space and table space for the children to use. Keep desks free from distractions, give them space to move and space to create. Don’t use the children’s free and clean spaces as a dumping ground for other materials.
2) Resist the urge to ‘fix’ the child’s work, their work is good enough! Often when the children are cleaning, baking, making their beds, we may not be entirely happy with how they have done the job. Resist this urge, their work is good enough and if the blanket is wonky on the bed that is totally ok, accept it and get past it. If we continually fix their work we are sending them the message that their work is not good enough, that they are not good enough.
3) Realise that your children don’t always need your help or want your help. They may be struggling with their work but may not appreciate the offers of help. Often offers of help are a hindrance, if they don’t ask for it and are not in harm, step back and wait. You may be surprised by what they can do.
4) Trust others to know your children and accept their help. It’s easy to think we are the only ones who know our children however there are other people in our life such as teachers and guides who know our children very well. Their views and opinions should be respected, they may offer greater insight into our children, that will benefit us all. They are able to see our children in a different light and in different situations.
5) Don’t be afraid of handmade and homemade. Don’t be afraid of failure or less than perfect. Making things ourselves often from scratch sets a good example for our children and shows them what is possible.
6) Embrace the mess that children make. Allow spaces to get messy if the kids are happy and working and creating. Order is important and clean up can happen afterward, but we can be too uptight, let go and allow children to participate and create even if it gets a little crazy.
7) Don’t leave baking, gardening, sewing or working with children, whatever this means for you, for special occasions, as much as possible encourage it in the everyday.
8) Be consistent. Children need consistency, they need to know what is expected of them. Changing the rules, or boundaries makes it more difficult for children to meet expectations.
9) Invest in more art and crafting materials and less toys. While toys and materials have their obvious benefits, often our children just need time to tinker, to create and make something of their own.
I have found parenting requires leaving behind perfectionism. I am always working on embracing and respecting the individual needs of the child! I’d love to know your thoughts, do you ever make notes to yourself?