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6 Montessori parenting habits to practice every day

Living the Montessori philosophy at home with children can seem daunting. Educators get dedicated training in this curriculum, after all, so you might ask yourself, "How could I possibly use this philosophy at home if I don't have a special degree?"


While it's true that educators need to have a well-rounded and complete understanding of the pedagogy to run a classroom, there are some things you can do at home without years and years of study.

To help you get started, here are six elements of Montessori philosophy that anyone can use while interacting with children.

1. Respect your child as a person

We respect our elders, we respect our partners, but the thought of respecting children seems a bit strange at first. After all, they are still new to this world! But that's all the more reason to show children respect in daily interactions. They will feel heard, they will feel loved, and they will learn how to respect others through your example.

Example: If your child wants your attention, but you ask them to wait a moment, make sure you turn to them when you've finished your task. Say, "Thank you for waiting, what can I help you with?" This shows them you respect what they have to say.

2. Foster your child's freedom and independence

When one cares deeply about a child or family member, it's difficult to watch them struggle—we want to step in to help! But this isn’t always helpful in a child's learning process, their self-confidence and their intrinsic motivation.

Most materials in the Montessori classroom are designed to allow children to use them independently, including the kitchen and bathroom areas. Children love the fact that they have control and independence over basic tasks like washing their hands or using the toilet!

At home, look for areas where you can give your child freedom. Maybe a low snack shelf that is all their own? Lower coat hooks so they can reach?

Example: Let your child dress themselves. It might take longer, and the clothes might be mismatched, but in the end, they are learning fine motor skills, step-by-step logic and decision making.

3. Give them freedom—within limits

A delicate Montessori concept, freedom within limits means letting your child guide their own daily activities based on their interests. However, setting limits is important as they help your child understand what is and isn’t acceptable. Any activity that hurts themselves or others would be an example of when to set limits.

Example: At the park, let your child decide how they would like to play. Set some limits before you go, "It's not okay (it's unsafe) to go outside of the fence onto the busy road."

4. Slow down—and give them space

An element of the Montessori philosophy that you can use at home is giving your child ample time and space to explore. Children run on a different internal clock than grown-ups, and it can be difficult to take a step back to appreciate that. Make sure you consider your child when making your daily schedule!

Example: Rather than rushing through a trip to the library, leave enough time for your child to explore the books on the shelves or ask the librarian questions.

5. Use big words—even with little kids

Using "big words" isn't exclusively a Montessori concept, but it is implemented daily in the classroom. Most first-time observers of a classroom are surprised when they hear the teacher announce, "I see some debris on the floor that needs to be picked up before lunchtime!"

You can start incorporating new language at home. Children will pick up the definition of new words through contextual clues or by asking you, "What does that mean?" Very soon your child will be using rich and descriptive language in everyday life.

Example: Don't censor your language. If a firetruck is really big, try using words like “enormous,” “gigantic” or “impressive” to describe it.

6. Always be making observations of your little one

Finally, here's a Montessori reminder for moms and dads to take the time to observe your child. In the classroom, educators spend a lot of time watching how children interact with materials in the classroom and with one another. This information gives the teacher insights into the unique and intricate character of each child.

Example: Watch your child when they are playing by themselves. Observe what gives them true joy, what frustrates them or what they tire of easily. Cater your activities at home based on your child's preferences.

While the Montessori curriculum is best left to a school environment, that doesn't mean you can't use some elements of the philosophy at home. By using some of the tips above like respect, independence and observation, you'll be able to create a caring and supportive environment that will contribute to the happiness of the whole family.

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

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Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

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Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

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Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

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Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

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