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Montessori Parenting: Benefits, Pros & Cons

Montessori parenting, based on the beliefs and studies of Maria Montessori, encourages children to learn through play and experience and can be an all-encompassing lifestyle. In this article, I’ll discuss some of the benefits of Montessori parenting, what type of children will thrive with this method, and any possible downfalls.

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What is Montessori Parenting?

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Montessori-style parenting is an approach that allows children to learn through free playing and exploring. Children can do what they want (to an extent) and follow their inclinations to gain a sense of self-worth at an early age.

Montessori parenting encourages parents to spend quality time with their children and includes them in their day-to-day home life activities (called practical life) because this is their children’s main desire. Parents should focus on creating a safe environment where children can come, go, and play freely without harm.

Instead of what you think of as traditional discipline, Maria Montessori encourages parents to set boundaries. This becomes the focus instead of consequences and punishments. Overall, Montessori parents will think of and respect the child as the person they are and who they are becoming by encouraging freedom in their environment and the child’s self-discovery. 

Is Montessori attachment parenting?

Attachment parenting and Montessori parenting are similar in some ways but not the same. Attachment parenting encourages relationship building through maximum time together. It makes it seem like you have to be attached to your child physically, often through baby wearing, co-sleeping, and never letting your child be away from you. This parenting style has become popular but is a gross misinterpretation of attachment theory.

Montessori parenting doesn't focus on this intensive “closeness” to your child at all times. Instead, it's grounded in parental responsiveness, empathy, respect for the child, and a child's ability to be independent when securely attached to their primary caregivers (which mostly happens naturally with a responsive caregiver).

Is the Montessori method effective?

The Montessori method is a very effective parenting method. It gives children a sense of empowerment and ownership over themselves and their decisions. It helps them develop independence while exploring their surroundings and can help prevent behavior problems.

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Why a Montessori home?

Because the Montessori parenting method focuses on developing the child as a whole, it becomes more than a parenting method and can become an entire lifestyle.

Montessori-inspired parenting can help eliminate behavior problems in your home. It will allow children to explore in a safe space. It also provides more family time, as it causes parents to be more intentional in spending time with their children.

In a Montessori home, parents allow their children to complete tasks independently rather than stepping in and helping (which usually turns into doing it for them), leading to them doing daily tasks independently. This can mean putting on their clothes, making their bowl of cereal, or any other simple daily tasks.

What type of child thrives in Montessori?

Any child can thrive in a Montessori home. One child that may have difficulty adjusting is an older child who was used to a different structure and type of environment. Their background can determine how they adjust to this lifestyle and parenting. 

Basic Montessori Principles 

There are several principles that are the foundations of the Montessori method.

Foster your child's freedom and independence

Through Montessori parenting, you allow your child to learn independently through their environment and natural experiences. Fostering this independence can be done by observing rather than stepping in. When they want to choose their clothes and dress, let them do it. Maybe they are coloring and want to color the sky green and the grass blue. Let them try it! This approach in a Montessori upbringing helps them develop a sense of themselves and their independence.

Respect your child as a person

Many parents have trouble viewing their children as a person. I know this sounds silly, but they do it without realizing it.

They are different from you and have their personality and desires. A Montessori upbringing encourages them to embrace it. Parents should respect the uniqueness of their children.

Show them respect by letting them move freely, correct their mistakes, and complete tasks at their own pace. Parenting your child from a place of respect will grow your connection and bond with them while fostering their development.

Freedom of Choice and Movement

According to Maria Montessori, children learn the best when they are free to move and make their own choices. This allows them to follow their interests and discover things that they enjoy. You can encourage them by preparing their environment for them. It should be safe and available for them to move freely. They need this freedom to learn through hands-on experiences.

A Child’s Mind is Very Absorbent

According to Maria Montessori, the first 6 years of a child’s life are the most crucial for their learning and development.

Children in this stage of development are like sponges – their brains absorb large amounts of information very quickly. During this time, they form an understanding of their culture and their world and develop their personality and their intelligence.

A Montessori upbringing acknowledges this and ensures they are set up for success during these crucial learning years.

A Child Goes Through Sensitive Stages 

There are periods in a child's life when they are most capable of learning certain skills and specific areas of knowledge, which is addressed in the Montessori-inspired parenting method. These are important windows of opportunity to capture. You will know that a child is in one of these sensitive stages when they are heavily focused, engaging in repetitive behavior, are committed to a task, and when can concentrate for long periods. 

Educating the child as a whole

The Montessori parenting method focuses on the child's physical, intellectual, social, and emotional development. Parents should provide experiences that foster growth and development in these areas. Parents can focus on practical life skills by encouraging children to participate in real-life activities around the home, for example, cooking and helping with laundry or clearing. Regarding social development, they should encourage their children to play with other children or siblings and let them emotionally respond independently to events and their environment without being criticized for their responses.

Learning is Individualized

Montessori parenting acknowledges that every child learns differently. You may have two siblings that learn in entirely different ways. Each child has unique needs and desires, which should be encouraged by parents and their environment.

A Purposeful Environment

To make a Montessori home, everything should serve a purpose and should have a specific place where it belongs, and there should be a reason why it belongs there. You also want to ensure that their environment is safe and set up so they can explore freely. This is important for their independence and their development.

Learning is a Reward

The Montessori parenting method focuses on intrinsic rewards. A child doesn’t need a tangible reward or “prize” for completing a task; the fact that they have learned how to do the task independently gives them a sense of pride in themselves and therefore is a reward on its own. Children get a sense of accomplishment from completing tasks and become proud of themselves. 

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Montessori Tips for Parents

Stand Back and Observe

With any child, it can be difficult not to jump in when they need help, but if you see them struggling with something like tying their shoes, opening a drawer, etc., let them work on figuring it out independently.

Foster Your Child’s Independence

Seek out age-appropriate activities to help your child grow their independence and self-confidence.

Give Everything A Purposeful Place

Because children are learning through their environment, their space should be set up to make them successful. When setting up your space, think about what you are putting out and why it is there.

Prompt Your Child with Questions

When your child asks you something, ask them questions that will help them come to the answer on their own through problem-solving.

Make Observations

Observe your child and figure out what they are curious about and what they are interested in, and create opportunities for them to explore these things further.

Does Montessori have a downside?

While there are no downsides to Montessori in terms of your child’s development, some view it as being difficult because it can mean an entire lifestyle change. Your whole family’s schedule and environment need to be set to a Montessori style, which can be a significant adjustment for some people.

Children raised in a Montessori home can also have trouble adjusting to other environments, which could be considered a downside. If you and your family are willing to make the necessary changes, a Montessori home and parenting style will benefit your children’s development.

Montessori Parenting Pros and Cons

Like any parenting, Montessori parenting has both positive aspects and some aspects that may be considered negative.

Pros of Montessori Parenting

  • Montessori parenting helps foster social and emotional development, as well as intellectual development.
  • Montessori parenting focuses on the child as a whole person, so rather than just teaching them basic skills, you will be teaching them (well, they will be teaching themselves through their environment and interactions) social and emotional skills as well as intellectual skills that can all be applied in their everyday life.
  • Learning is individualized in Montessori parenting.
  • The Montessori method acknowledges that every child is unique and has different interests. They also learn in different ways. Montessori parenting allows your child to learn and develop in a way that is specific to them.
  • Montessori parenting allows for maximum family time.
  • Montessori parenting encourages you to spend quality time with your children. This allows you to form strong bonds and relationships with your children. 
  • Learning is based on curiosity.
  • In a Montessori home, children learn based on their curiosity. This allows them to learn things that are unique to them and at their own pace.
  • Children become life-long learners.
  • Because children raised under Montessori parenting are taught to learn through their environment and experiences, this becomes a way of life for them. They know that every situation can be a learning experience, turning them into life-long learners.
  • Children learn how to handle real-life situations.
  • A big part of Montessori parenting is role-playing situations with your children. This will teach them skills they will need in real-life situations and prepare them to go out into the world. 
  • Children are allowed to learn at their own pace.
  • Because Montessori parenting is unique to each child and allows them to learn through their curiosity and environment, it allows them to learn at their own pace. 
  • Learning is enjoyable.
  • In Montessori parenting, learning is done through experiences rather than lectures, lessons, etc. This makes learning much more enjoyable for children, encouraging them to continue learning.

Cons of Montessori Parenting

  • It can be difficult for children to adapt to other types of environments.
  • Should you ever decide to switch to a more traditional parenting style or even if you decide to send your child to a conventional school rather than a Montessori school once you have adopted a Montessori parenting style, they may have some difficulties adjusting to other types of environments.
  • Children have to learn self-motivation to be successful.
  • For a child to be successful in a Montessori lifestyle, they have to learn to be self-motivated to learn. This can be difficult for some children, especially if they are older and you are switching to this type of parenting.
  • Montessori is an entire lifestyle.
  • Montessori parenting involves an entire lifestyle change. Your schedules, environment, and everyday life will be impacted, but it is a beneficial change for your child’s development.

Montessori-inspired parenting is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children.

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