Well I hope you have enjoyed the advent calendar as much as I have. As we sit here on Christmas eve having enjoyed the festive month of December, here are the last of our advent tips for you.
Observing before reacting is a skill to keep practising for life! The story goes that Maria Montessori had some rosary beads that she would count to stop herself from stepping in too quickly. Thanks to Junnifa Echefu Uzodike of Nduoma Montessori for adding this to our advent calendar. Junnifa has two young children and travels with them from Nigeria to do her Montessori training. One inspiring lady! Where does she get her energy from?
We can indeed be better parents when we give love to ourselves – you may need to be creative to get the self-care you need, but it is possible. Thanks Audrey Hargis from Montessori Mischief for this much-needed reminder. Audrey always inspires me with her peaceful approach and self-awareness. And she also finds time to run the super popular Montessori 101 Facebook group.
Parenting makes you look inward like you never have before. To see what is important to you. To build self-care into your day (even if it’s having a cup of tea while the kids are in the bath!). To remain grounded. That’s giving love to yourself.
I love this tip from Jeanne-Marie Paynel of Voila Montessori. It has been wonderful to get to know Jeanne-Marie this year. We met in person at the Montessori AGM and immediately connected. She has such a passion for Montessori in the early years, also working with parents based on a wealth of experience from her classroom days.
We tend to take parenting very personally, especially our child’s behaviour. But as Jeanne-Marie points out, it’s they who are struggling and saying “I need your help. I’ve lost control.” And for us to not take it personally but be there to help them calm down, and make amends where necessary.
The last day of our advent calendar. I hope you have found it valuable with guidance to help you bring Montessori into your home and your parenting. So today’s tip is to pick just one of the ideas from the calendar to practise for the next month. If you can execute just one change, what would it be? Please drop me a note which one you choose to work on.
Here they are again:
1. Using empathy to ask your child how they feel, find space to be able to support your child without feeling attacked or emotionally involved
2. Let me make discoveries for myself
3. Who we are as human beings – how we are in the world – is what will make the biggest impact on our children’s lives
4. See the beauty everywhere
5. Make things child-sized
6. Break things down into teachable parts
7. Learning to foster a positive conception of parenting can help your child reach the potential they inherently see every day.
8. Involve children in daily life
9. Show your children you love them by giving them a few safe limits, and freedom within these limits. (It’s not about the presents)
10. Every now and then, crawl around a room at your child’s height. It’s a great way to get a sense of what works (or doesn’t work) for your child.
11. Make time for conversations in your family, or are you too busy to listen?
12. Your child lives in the moment. Try to join them there.
13. How can your environment at home help you?
14. Want your child to love books? Let them see you reading; read to them from birth; and choose beautiful books
15. Make eye contact when your child is talking to you
16. Accept me for who I am – see me for both my strengths and weaknesses equally
17. A huge part of Montessori is the way in which we talk to children. It’s about seeing them as whole, capable people and developing the patience and understanding to treat them as such.
18. Allow me time to process what you said
19. We have to share with our children the wonder and the beauty of the world
20. To build connection with our children, seek alternatives to punishment
21. Pausing a minute to pause before you react can give you a better perspective and understanding of your child’s actions and allow you to react better – or realise you don’t need to react
22. To give love to the child you must first be giving love to yourself
23. Don’t take a young child’s behaviour personally. They are not giving you a hard time; they are having a hard time.