One of the most challenging things when having kids is developing the criteria to raise them. "As parents, we all want to be, and do, THE best to raise great human beings for the world." However, there are all type of variations of how to teach kids, and there are different “methods” or “philosophies” to follow. My choice, for most of my raising behaviors, is Montessori’s theory.
Here are the 4 lessons I’ve learnt from Maria Montessori that have helped me in my job as a mom:
1. “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.” Maria Montessori
We as parents tend to rush too much. We advance to help the kids in tasks that they could possibly do, and if not, they could at least try. I once was at a friend’s house, who has a 4-year-old daughter. It was meal time, and I just couldn't believe the fact that the “little girl” was being fed, and my friend was not even letting her try having a bite for herself. My twins not only fed themselves, but take their plates to the kitchen and ask for a cloth to “clean” the table (not pristine… but they try!).
So, hey, kids can do things, and should be encouraged by you to do as much as they can. It is the only way they can learn and do things independently.
Let’s make a deal of NOT saying that they can’t do something. As Maria Montessori explains, we should give them the opportunity to move around and choose what they want to do. They might need you to guide them, but never ever to limit them.
2. Let them move around, close to the ground.
Since my twins were 4 months old they started to sleep in a mattress on the floor (a nice, comfy, clean one, of course). I liked the idea Maria Montessori exposed in her theory where children are able to “be free” and move around independently. I strongly believe that this helped them crawl when they were 8 months old (although they were really 6 months for them, since they were preemies), and walk at the age of 1 year and 2 months, despite of the fact that they were in probable “disadvantage” due to their palsy when born. I would also leave them cups of water within their reach since they were 6 months, so they could have a zip whenever they wanted to (another way I have encouraged healthy habits since very early in their life).
3. Respect for the kid as the adult he/she will be.
I dislike when people talk to kids as if they were silly. I also disagree when parents, in their attempt to correct children when they have done something wrong, explode and disrespect the kid. The way I talk to Ferran and Leon is the same way I ‘nag’ them when they have done wrong. When talking to your kids, think that they are human beings, and as us all, make mistakes. Why seeing them as inferiors? Let’s teach them in a nice, educational manner, so that they can understand and embrace what we are trying to transmit.
4. Children as individuals.
From the many options of educational “methods” I could inspire myself to teach my kids, Montessori was my choice influenced greatly by this factor: the kid seen as an individual. Maria Montessori would say that the child’s characteristics and ends should be recognized independently. There aren’t two kids alike, not even when they are twins. I would like my kids to be able to work in a team, contributing with what they can, but also to be leaders due to their own independent capabilities. I want them to enjoy their solitude as much as they can enjoy their partnership. Montessori lets my kids explore the world at their own pace and interest, and I just happen to love it!