The parenting method that can make your child more independent | #parenting


Parenting that follows child led learning (Picture: Getty)

Initially a method of education used as an approach to classroom learning, Montessori has now been developed into a form of gentle parenting, growing in popularity online.

You may have seen Montessori parenting across your TikTok without even realising it.

Laura, better known on TikTok as @lauralove5514, films videos of herself using gentle parenting techniques – intertwined with Montessori teachings – with her sons, Jonah and Carter.

She has 7.8M Followers on her account, amassing over 382.8M Likes across her videos.

The videos show her children cooking their own meals, doing their own food shopping and tidying up after themselves – without adult intervention (unless needed).

So what is it?

The Montessori Method was developed by physician and educator Dr Maria Montessori in the early 1900s. It’s based on how children can learn and teach themselves through their surroundings.

Montessori is all about encouraging independence, empowering children and assisting them when they need or ask for help.

Parents should provide a supportive environment and observe their children, allowing them to explore in their own time while also respecting their decision-making.

Ruth Freeman, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Founder and President of Peace At Home Parenting Solutions, followed the Montessori Method when raising her now-adult daughter.

‘We chose the Montessori method because it was child-centred, it focused on principles of child development, and it was designed to carefully match expectations to each individual child’s capacities,’ Ruth told Metro.co.uk. 

‘As parenting educators, we know that misbehaviour and parent-child struggles are often the result of a mismatch between what the adults believe a child can do, and what they actually can do in terms of their cognitive, physical and social-emotional development.’

Ruth particularly liked the focus placed on tracking each child’s individual capacities and interests.

‘We used some of the tools at home that were consistent with Montessori, including supporting our daughter to follow her interests – rather than our goals for her – and making plans together as a family with regular family meetings,’ she adds.

‘We were good at matching our expectations to our daughter’s abilities.’

Image shows a blonde child in a yellow and white striped long sleeved top lying on their back on the floor. They are surrounded by wooden alphabet pieces and are holding two letter O’s up to their eyes.

Parents are encouraged to take a step back (Picture: Getty)

The education system of Montessori focuses on genuine teamwork, recognising strengths and developing them, as well as following children, so they study what really interests them.

Bex Kitchen, a single mother to her six old child who has additional needs, is using the Montessori method at her home in Cambridgeshire.

‘The Montessori method made the most sense to me because it gives children the autonomy and agency I believe they deserve, and it helps them to have a love of learning from an early age,’ Bex tells Metro.co.uk.

‘The environment is set up around them to learn in a child-led way with so many opportunities, without rigidity.’

How is it implemented at home?

Involve children of any age in the day to day tasks you are already doing.

For example, if you have a young baby, you could put them on their mat and allow them to watch you carry out chores such as sweeping the floors or putting away the shopping.

As they get older and become toddlers they can start to get involved.

‘The Montessori method fosters independence and confidence, which is really important,’ Bex continues.

‘So from about three years old, my child had their own wash station which was placed at their height, an under counter fridge with breakfast and snacks they could get for themself and a small table and chairs, so everything was set up for their size and ability. 

‘This really helped my child gain a lot of independence.

‘I have allowed my child to help with cooking and chop things for themself from a young age too, so that they feel competent and involved.’

If you want to implement these teachings into your own parenting, Bex suggests watching what your child is interested in, and following their lead.

‘Create opportunities for them to explore what they want to learn, and opportunities for independence. The best way children learn is by doing – just make sure you supervise,’ she adds.

It’s also about choice. If you are getting your child ready and dressed, you could allow them to pick between two outfits for the day.

This allows your child to foster autonomy through simple choices.

The method can also extend to the toys you allow your child to play with and their bedroom set up.

For example, it is recommended that children only have eight to 10 toys out at once.

They should be displayed on a shelf which is easily accessible and visible to the child and the rest of their toys should be hidden in a storage box. 

These should be rotated out every two or three weeks, depending on when the child grows bored of them.

The toys should be age appropriate and consider the child’s age and development.

When it comes to sleep, Montessori families tend to opt for a floor bed rather than a crib.

This helps a child develop freedom of movement as well as teaching them about body awareness.

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.


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