I am so excited to be talking to you about one of the fundamental principles of Montessori, which is to follow the child’s lead.
During this session of Montessori Mondays with Holly, we talked about 3 investigation skills you need to follow your child’s lead. Watch the show above and click here to join the Facebook group.
If you are struggling with what following your child means, this is for you.
We can all get starry eyes at some of these beautiful Montessori spaces and homes.
But, some of the most important work that we do as parents doesn’t require any materials at all. It requires us to make these few changes internally to see this transformation in our children, home, and ourselves. These 3 skills help you learn how to follow your child’s lead.
Have you tried observing your child yet? Observing is one of the most common things to get looked over. Especially, at the start of your Montessori journey. This can be due to all of the changes to make and materials to buy. It’s easy to get swept up. We need to refine these beginning tasks and turn them into habits.
In the beginning, it’s hard to sit down and purposely observe your child, especially when you are a busy multitasking parent. Make sure you schedule time once a week to really observe what your child is doing with materials. There is no right or wrong way to observe. I like to take notes but it’s really just observing that’s happening.
From there you can follow your child’s lead by connecting those behaviors, actions, activities, materials that they are using to new or more challenging things that they might be interested in. There is a little bit of work to do after the observations. But without observing you will be blindly giving your child materials without knowing what they are actually interested in.
This is a part of the traditional education where it’s believed every child hits these milestones at the exact same time so they should like XYZ toys at the exact same time. This is not true and not what Montessori is about. We talk about the unique child in Montessori. And following the unique child means observing the unique child and giving them activities and practical life skills when they are interested. Not when a chart tells you they should be interested.
Interruptions can look like a few different things. Being still and quiet and letting your child have that self-satisfaction that comes from completing the task, rather than praise from the caregiver or parent is crucial.
Praise is an interruption. It’s important to keep the praise to yourself and watch how satisfied your child is with themself when completing a task.
In certain instances, it is necessary to interrupt, for example, safety. Safety always comes first.
Another way to interrupt is to constantly ask, “what about this?” instead of letting your child choose the shelf themself. This can interrupt their thought process and take away from them independently making that choice. One way you can work on that is to say, “Which of these materials would you like to work on?” rather than “how about this one?”
If you are struggling to allow your child the freedom to take the lead, following the child as a whole can be hard for you.
As parents, we like to overcomplicate everything. Montessori is very simple when you understand what every little thing means. Giving your child freedom within the choice is going to be huge.
You’ll be able to see what your child’s lead is. If you ask your child between these 2 materials, what do you want to play with, they’re going to chose one and that’s their lead. For some reason, they chose this one over that one and it’s up to you to be the investigator to connect more of those activities, materials, and challenging work on that level.
You can also simply ask their opinion! A lot of times we do so much for our children without even thinking about it. Especially if you are new to Montessori. You probably get your child up, get them dressed, make their breakfast, brush their teeth, etc.
In Montessori, we are taking time for our children to do these tasks. As they are developmentally prepared to them. We are allowing them the freedom to become independent by doing more of those things that we as parents naturally do for our children. It’s important for us to step back and really let our children take the lead.
If you notice your child trying to put their leg in their pants they are showing they are ready to take the lead! It can be hard when you are a busy parent, sometimes just starting your routine 5-10 minutes earlier so that you are prepared to have the time for your child to have independence.
So if you are ready to learn more about a Montessori and provide your child with a beautiful Montessori prepared environment at home I would love to invite you to join us for our 4 Days To A Montessori Home Challenge.
About this Challenge:
What you need to know:
Do you sit back and truly observe your child(ren)? What have you noticed? Let us know in the comments!