- Create a peaceful ritual in the morning for waking up and in the evening before going to bed.
If a child has a peaceful entry into her day, and a peaceful ending to her day, she is more likely to be able to maintain that sense of peace and self-awareness throughout the day. Storytelling and singing Sanskrit mantras are some of my favorite nighttime rituals with my boys. Singing or hugging them awake in the morning gives them a warm greeting into their day.
- Learn about your child’s uniqueness!
One of the important skills cultivated in Montessori teachers, is the ability to observe each of their students with an open and curious mind. We can do this as parents as well – get to know our children’s strengths and challenges, and be open to who they truly are, rather than boxing them in to being a certain way.
Tim Seldin, President of The Montessori Foundation, cites, “Maria Montessori assumed that children are born intelligent, they simply learn in different ways and progress at their own pace.”
- Create an organized, child-accessible learning space in your child’s room, playroom, or even in the kitchen or living areas.
Create one small section of the home as an organized work area for your small child. It can be one shelf, with a few books and Melissa & Doug-type learning toys. These items, displayed openly in a child-sized work zone, inspire children to explore the materials.
- Take daytime or nighttime walks with your child.
Engage all five senses. Ask your child what they see, hear, feel (wind or sunshine against their skin), smell, and perhaps taste (if you take a break to drink water or eat a snack).
- Expose your child to music and art.
Don’t hesitate in sharing some of your artistic and musical passions with your children. It doesn’t have to be all kiddie music and artwork. They will enjoy learning about what you love, from you.
- Take time to teach and model grace and courtesy.
Although toddlers are not exactly in the most “graceful” periods of their lives, modeling good eye contact, polite greetings and farewells, and some basic manners will help them learn basic social etiquette from you.
Lastly, enjoy the ride! As someone once said to me, “The days are long, but the years are fast.”
Written by Ali Grimes, Development Director at Montessori School of Maui