It’s Week 2 of our advent calendar that I’ve been sharing over on the Facebook page.
And a reminder today to include children in daily life. Sometimes we think we need to keep them busy while we cook, clean, or do the washing. Instead invite a young child to help you. Ok, you may need to lower your expectations of the outcome, put out only as much as you want to clean up, and allow yourself more time. But you foster family values of contribution, care of others in the family, and working together.
Sometimes I hear that Montessori is very strict. And other times that children are allowed to do whatever they like. Actually Montessori is somewhere in the middle. We have a few limits which we don’t bend on, but freedom within these.
For example, children can choose the activity they want to work with, with the limit that they should respect other children working and replace the activity ready for the next child. At home, we can have a house rule that we eat at the table. We provide healthy food and then trust the child to eat what they need without forcing them, doing aeroplanes to get them to open their mouths, or bribing them with dessert.
Today’s tip for our advent calendar comes from Nicole of The Kavanaugh Report. I love her blog so much – beautiful resources for everyone. Another one to check out!
I also swear by this tip. It’s one thing to arrange our spaces for our children and another to actually get on the ground to see what things look like from their height. It’s amazing how a change of perspective makes you see things differently. Give it a try!
To be honest I’m a little worried about today’s tip. That you are going to feel pressure to fit in one more thing in your day. So I say do it at mealtimes, when you are changing the baby, as you do your jobs about the house, when you are travelling to school. There is no substitute for conversation with your child to help build connection.
Remember conversation is two-way. Wait and listen for a response from your child. Say “mmm” to show interest but not interrupt when they are talking. Repeat back to check you understood. And even pre-verbal children enjoy conversations. A two-week old baby can copy you poking out your tongue; a baby babbling will love to babble with you taking turns.
It’s Day 12 and I’m so happy to have Meghan Sheffield of Milkweed Montessori to help with today’s advent calendar tip. I love following Meghan on Instagram to see their daily Montessori exploits and her blog is super inspiring too. Be sure to follow along.
What Meghan says here is pure wisdom. We can learn so much from our young children who live in the present moment. They remind us to slow down, to really see the world around us, and to be more awake in the world – be it pleasure or pain.
We are half way through our advent calendar helping you bring Montessori into your home.
One thing I’m pretty passionate about is setting up our spaces at home for success. Success for your child to manage themselves; success for you to have less chaos; success for you to have more moments of connection and less nagging; and success for us not to feel constantly burned out. Is it possible you say?
A wise Montessori teacher told me that you can use the environment to do some work for you. If your child always comes to ask you for help to reach the sink, have a low step and adjust the temperature of the water in your house; if they are constantly asking for sticky tape or paper, set up a supply station for them to be able to access what they need; if they ask you for water or snacks, think about having an area where they can help themselves. And, remember, only put out as much as you want to clear up.
Remember the child under 6 years has an absorbent mind? Then they are also absorbing everything we do to. So if you want to show kids that books are important, let them see you reading and enjoying books too! Read, read, read – it’s never too early to start. And read books that are beautiful and that you love. Your child will pick up how you feel about it too. I only have books in my classroom that I love so that I am excited when a child asks to read with me. Bring me a Hairy Maclary book and I’ll be happy to read it over and over and over again for at least 20 minutes…
If you missed Week 1 of the advent calendar, you can pop over here.