The start of a new school year can feel overwhelming to children and adults alike. New classrooms, schools, friends, teacher- that is a lot to adjust to, especially for young children. How can parents help their child through this time of transition? Below are some tips that I find to be helpful reminders for families:
1. Encourage Independence: Allow your child ample time to do things for themselves. Montessori is all about promoting independence in children. By creating a home environment where the child can do most things independent of the adult, the child develops confidence and self-help skills. With a little patience on the part of the adult, giving a child the opportunity to accomplish a task on their own is a gift that will benefit them throughout his or her life.
2. Making Mistakes: It is okay for children to make mistakes and experience failure. Let’s say that again! It’s okay for children to make mistakes and experience failure! Too often these days, children are protected from feelings of failure and disappointment by a well-meaning adult stepping in to solve the problem before the child has a chance to do so on their own. Instead of stepping in too soon, take a step back and observe your child as they work their way through a problem.
3. Down Time: I cannot stress this one enough!! Provide your child with plenty of quiet time, uninterrupted by television, computers, and hectic schedules. You may discover that your child is less prone to tantrums, meltdowns, and other challenging behavior when they are well rested and not over-stimulated.
4. Order: Montessori classrooms are orderly places where a child knows what to expect. An orderly environment is very soothing for young children and allows them to feel comfortable and confident. By creating an orderly home environment with a predictable daily routine, your child will benefit from the calm that this creates.
5. Get Outside: Time in nature is proven to reduce stress and improve moods and behavior. Make it a point to get outside with your child as often as possible for a walk or a trip to the park. Taking time to share with your child all that you can observe in nature provides a wonderful chance to bond with one another.
A child takes a moment to observe the work he has created with the Brown Prisms during the first week of school.
“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”- M. Montessori