Imagine your child walks to their room on their own. They go to their dresser and pull out an outfit for the day. Next, they place them on the bed and get dressed. This is an excellent example of Montessori parenting. 

Montessori education is a practice of self-guidance and independence. It offers your child the chance to be responsible for their decisions and handle a challenge independently. 

Childhood is a crucial time for both social and cognitive development. Parents play a key role in this development, and you can support Montessori in the home quite easily. 

What Is Montessori Parenting?

Montessori parenting is a concept in which parents offer children the freedom to perform a task on their own. Adults and children both struggle when they approach a new task. However, children tend to take much longer, prompting parents to take over the task with a “Here, I’ll do it” or “Let me help.” 

Unfortunately, this draws out the learning process, not allowing the child to develop the skill. Additionally, it gives the child the answer, meaning they don’t learn to solve a challenge on their own.  

This parenting style allows children the opportunity to develop skills and practice at their own pace. The parent doesn’t interfere with their growth or desire to learn. Instead, it encourages children to learn how to complete a task on their own – even though it may take a little longer. 

However, this doesn’t mean you don’t teach your children. As with a Montessori environment, you are a guide, always there to help and assist. Then, you can foster their abilities as they develop a stronger sense of self. 

parents learning how to support their children's Montessori education at home

12 Ways to Support Montessori in the Home

Even if you don’t rigidly follow the Montessori parenting style, you can support your child’s education in the home. In fact, you might realize that you do apply aspects of this approach in your own methods. 

1. A Kid-Centric Area in the Home

Have an area in the home in which furniture and toys are conducive and comfortable for children to use on their own. For instance, a smaller table and chairs give them a space to write, read, and explore their creativity. Still, there are ways to expand upon this throughout the home. 

  • Do you have a hook low enough for your child to hang their own jacket or coat? 
  • Does your child have a kitchen set they can use to “cook” alongside you? 
  • Is there a drawer of snacks they can reach on their own to learn to manage their own snack habits?

The idea is that children can thrive in an environment that works for them – not only for adults. 

2. Give Your Child Responsibilities

Giving your child responsibilities falls within the bounds of Montessori parenting. As a parent, it can be easy to do everything for your child. However, allowing them to handle certain responsibilities nurtures practical life skills. 

Create a to-do list for them to follow in the morning or when they get home from school. Instead of sorting laundry yourself, have them help or handle it on their own. The more you include your child in these daily tasks, the more responsibility you give them. 

3. Follow Their Lead

Kids learn faster when they have an interest. You might be able to drill math problems and teach them multiplication through repetition. However, if they are curious and eager to learn, it paints the activity in a positive light. 

Don’t focus entirely on what you think they should learn. Instead, follow their lead and interests. Are they interested in dinosaurs? Borrow a stack of books from the library. 

Do they want to help you in the garden? Get them their very own gardening gloves and child-friendly tools. 

When you follow the cues your child gives you, you fuel the fire.

4. Open-Ended Play

A lot of toys fall into open-ended play, with no limits on how your child can use them. Art supplies can encourage creativity, and building blocks or Legos allow them to build just about anything. 

Montessori parenting encourages open-ended exploration and play to avoid limiting the imagination. It allows your child to play as they desire within the safety of boundaries you determine. 

5. Give Your Child Choices

Additionally, Montessori parenting favors empowerment, especially through choices. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to give them a choice in everything. Instead, include them in the decision-making process every once in a while. 

Simple choices allow them to practice decision-making and learn new skills. When they know how to make the right choice, they develop a skill that can benefit them for life. 

6. Show Respect

Respect goes beyond parenting methodology into common sense advice. No one is perfect, and you value your child just how they are. You don’t want to change into a new person, so it’s important to respect who they are. 

Show them respect and love as you already do. It teaches them to reciprocate and return that love and respect as they model their behavior after you. 

parents enjoying open-ended play alongside their children

7. Model the Behavior You Want to See

Speaking of modeling behavior, your child absorbs information constantly. As a parent, your actions speak louder than you might realize. Sure, you may yell for them to stop yelling, but generally, it means you treat them kindly. 

Show them how you want them to treat you. Additionally, you can extend this into healthier choices. Maybe you choose a healthy snack or pick up a book and notice them following your lead. 

8. Less Baby Talk, More Challenge and Context

It can be tempting to talk to your child in baby talk or with nonsense words. However, speaking normally with everyday language shows them how to communicate. 

You don’t need to use big words, but don’t shy away from challenging vocabulary. Try words or sentences a step above what your child is comfortable with. Eventually, they can pick up on the context. 

This is a good way for anyone to learn new words. You don’t have to dedicate time to flashcards when you engage them in conversation and make use of the words. 

9. New Experiences

Talking or reading about something interesting is great. Nothing beats an experience, though. You can talk about seeds and how they grow, or you can show them by planting a seed and following its growth. 

Also, you can take your child to new places, especially ones that align with their interests. Maybe you walk through the botanical garden to learn more about plants. 

10. Slow Down

Adults have a habit of rushing to stay on a schedule. Children don’t always understand this. For instance, you might visit a children’s museum where your child plays with the same display for what feels like eons. 

Over-scheduling can overwhelm your child, but it can also overwhelm you. Moreover, it denies them the opportunity to play on their own. When you allow your child to move at their own pace, you do them a service. 

11. Encourage Self-Sufficiency

We talked about this earlier, but Montessori parenting encourages your child to be self-sufficient. Early on, it may seem impossible because you’re used to doing everything for them. 

Once you give them the time to learn how to do things, it will blow you away how quickly they improve. If you have a second child, the drive towards autonomy happens out of necessity. Your older child needs to start doing certain things on their own so you have time to help your younger child. 

Self-sufficiency means different things to different families. 

  • Let them grab their favorite cup from the cupboard, even if they have to use a step stool. 
  • Let them go into school on their own once they know the way. 

When you encourage independence, you support their Montessori education. 

12. Show Empathy 

Empathy is always great advice for parents. Put yourself in your child’s shoes to see how they learn and struggle. You’ll become more patient as you realize they are learning. 

Showing empathy is an essential aspect of Montessori parenting. Don’t react to their behavior so much as try to understand their motivation. 

Any time you say “I’d feel the same way” or “It’s hard, right?” you show your child the empathy they need. It helps them understand the challenge is normal and can bring you closer together. 

Supporting Montessori in the Home

As you read through this list, you likely saw ways in which you already use Montessori parenting. The more you give your child the space to learn, the more they can improve. When they enroll in our Lower Montessori Program, we can help them learn and grow together.