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Why we incorporate Montessori principles into our home and parenting style

Box with wooden ball

Box with wooden ball.

I’m not sure exactly how we came to embrace Montessori so completely into our life, but I know that it has worked well for us. My husband went to a Montessori preschool, but I didn’t. I have vague memories of one of my relatives going to a Montessori preschool as well when I was little, but I didn’t really know much about it. Once I found out I was pregnant, though, Montessori seemed a natural fit. I think I was influenced toward Montessori because all of our nieces have gone to Montessori schools to some extent or another, plus I have a good friend and another relative who are Montessori assistants.

As I started exploring Montessori on my own, a big influence on my thoughts was Michael Olaf. The Joyful Child became a sort of guidebook for us as to how to incorporate the Montessori method into our home. And as I read about some of Montessori’s ideas and looked at Montessori materials, I just knew it would be a good fit for us. I love beautiful things. I love order. I didn’t want my son to have a bunch of noisy, plastic electronic toys. I didn’t want to plop him in front of a television set. I wanted wood toys. I wanted to read him books.

One of the earliest Montessori materials we used in my son’s life was the Topponcino. It made transferring our son from one person to another much easier for nervous, first-time parents, and gave him a safe, snuggly place. As an infant, he also had a collection of Montessori baby toys and a Montessori-inspired mobile. Not everything we did was by the book. My son wasn’t able to breastfeed, so we used bottles and pacifiers. We used a playard occasionally to contain him, mostly when having a little one crawling or walking around would have been a safety hazard (i.e., when I was cooking). And although we never put him in a crib, he slept in an assortment of swings and a co-sleeper early on, before moving to a mattress on the floor (first with Mom (and sometimes Dad), and later (at around 8 months old) on his own).

Throughout my son’s first year of life, he had toys available to him at his level that he could choose from and the freedom to explore his world. As he entered his second year of life, we gave him real silverware and glasses and a table and chair just his size. As a two-year-old, we’re now working with him on potty training and taking care of himself (cutting his own food, taking on and off his own clothes, brushing his hair and teeth, etc.).

When I think about it, we use Montessori mostly because we’ve seen how much our son has thrived whenever we’ve done things the Montessori way, or at least as close as we could approximate. It made sense to us. It worked for us.

Have you incorporated any Montessori ideas into your home?

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