I first started to hear about Montessori when my friends started having babies. It’s a form of education that offers a broad vision of education as an aid to life. It draws its principles from the natural development of the child, letting each individual child’s inner directives freely guide them toward wholesome growth.

One friend enrolled her daughter in a Montessori preschool because she had trouble concentrating in a normal preschool environment. My other friend actually taught at a Montessori preschool where her child attended. It was this friend who truly introduced me to the concept.

She told me it was all about letting your little one learn at their own pace, make their own decisions, and when you can, choosing natural products and activities. She said something like, “You’re probably already Montessori and don’t even know it,” and she was right.


Now that I’ve been consciously practicing Montessori for awhile, I hear a lot of discussion about what toys are appropriate, and concern about what it takes to make your environment perfect. We are all on our own journey—there is not a standard we all must meet in order to practice this lifestyle.

You don’t have to include Montessori in every part of your life to practice Montessori.

I’d like to think Montessori is more about the interactions you have with your child on a day-to-day basis and the way you respond when given a chance to educate your child, providing hands-on opportunities for your child to learn.

Here are some ways you might already be doing that.

Respecting your child

If you’re talking to your child, not at your child, it’s a good start. Yes, you are the adult but you can still show your child respect and talk to them like you would an equal.

Allowing your child to make decisions

This works best when offering two or three choices, so you don’t overwhelm your child. For example, asking them whether they would like to wear the blue coat or the red coat today. This helps them with confidence and independence.

Letting your child help you

Children want to learn. Letting them help with laundry, cleaning, cooking, and gardening are all great ways to incorporate your child in everyday tasks. It is very hard to let your child make a mistake that you can foresee, but it is also very important for them to learn the consequences of their actions. Obviously, if your child is in danger you should intervene.

Encouraging old-school play

Truth be told, we still have a few flash toys hiding away here that I just couldn’t bring myself to give away, but if you want to incorporate some Montessori principles into your playroom donate all your flashy, noisy plastic toys.

Trying not to say “No”

This one can be difficult, but try to create more “yes” spaces in your house. Instead of saying, “No,” you can say, “We don’t play with those Tommy. How about we read a book?” It’s always best to tell your child exactly what they shouldn’t be doing, and then give them a new activity to focus on. This allows your child to explore worry-free.

If you're just starting your journey, its good to know that you don’t have to do everything perfectly to consider yourself Montessori. So if you have to change the guidelines a bit to meet your needs, don’t stress about it. There are several guidelines to living Montessori, but at the end of the day, using the parenting style that suits you is the key to successful implementation.

Back when my husband and I were creating our wedding registry, it was a fun, low-pressure opportunity to select some new dishes and linens. After all, I knew a thing or two about stocking my home and making the "wrong decision" with thread count was the only thing that posed any risk to my sleep at night.

Fast-forward a few years to when I created a baby registry before the birth of my first child—and I found the experience to have a much steeper learning curve. Unlike those sheets, it felt like a bad swaddle or bassinet selection would be catastrophic. Unsure of what to expect from motherhood or my baby, I leaned heavily on advice from friends who already ventured into parenthood. (Starting with their reminders to take deep breaths!)


Now a mom of three little ones under the age of four, I'm happy to be in a position to pass along some baby registry wisdom.

Go shopping with a veteran parent

As first-time parents, my husband and I barely knew the difference between a bouncer and a swing, let alone what specific features we would want. So when a mom friend recommended we head to Walmart to build my registry together—because she found them to carry the trendy brands she loved AND make registering a breeze during her pregnancy—I leapt at the chance.

By walking through the aisles together and actually getting to see the products, I was much more confident in my registry selections. Thanks to that quick, in-store tutorial from my friend, I understood exactly how to match a perfect infant car seat with an extra base and stroller—which is something I would have been clueless about on my own.

Include items at a variety of price points

When it comes down to it, a registry is really a wish list. So, while I had a personal budget for a stroller if it had to come out of my own pocket, this was an opportunity for me to ask for the stroller of my dreams. And, wouldn't you know it? A few family members went in on it together, which made a bigger price tag much more manageable.

At the same time, it's nice to include some of the smaller ticket items that are absolutely essential. I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I was to skip buying my own diapers for those first few weeks. (With super cute patterns, these are also surprisingly fun to give, too!)

Think about the gifts you would like to give

The first time I bought a mom-to-be a gift after my own child was born, I knew immediately what to look for on her registry: a diaper bag backpack, which I had come to have very strong opinions about after battling falling straps with my first diaper bag. This allowed me to feel like I had a personal touch in my gift, even if I brought one pre-selected by her.

I also appreciate it when my friends clearly incorporate their style into their registry choices, like with adorable baby outfits or nursery decor—and there's no sweeter "thank you" than a picture from a friend showing your gift in use.

Ask for things to grow with your child

Even though it's called a baby registry, there's no need to limit yourself to gifts to use before their first birthday. (To this day, I still have people who attended my baby shower to thank for the convertible bed that my oldest child sleeps in!) Knowing that, I would have included more options with long lifespans into my registry—namely, a baby carrier that can be used during the newborn months, baby months and well into the toddler years. A well-designed baby carrier would have saved my back from serious pain because it would have allowed me to comfortably and ergonomically carry my toddler as she made her way into the 25lb+ club. One brand that's designed to grow with your baby and accommodates 7-45 pounds (up to about four years old) and offers both inward and forward-facing positions is Ergobaby. With several different design and style options, you can easily find one that caters to your parenting needs. From an all-in-one carrier, like the Omni 360, that grows with baby from the newborn stages into the toddler years or a newborn-specific carrier, like the Embrace (and don't worry you can later upgrade to a carrier for an older baby, I recommend the 360 Carrier). The best part? All ergonomic designs are supportive and comfortable for both baby and parent, offering extra lumbar support with breathable, lightweight mesh styles. Everyone (even grandparents!) can get a kick out of babywearing, which is a nice and welcomed break for parents. Having one of these on my registry would have certainly made those first few years so much easier.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

This article was sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Generally speaking, we're not big TV watchers and our kids don't own tablets or iPads, so limiting screen time for our children (usually around the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines) has proven to be a reasonable practice for us.

It wasn't until this past summer when I started working from home full time that I found myself stretching an hour to an hour and a half or allowing just one more episode of Pokemon so I could get in a few more emails quietly. (#MomGuilt)

I also realized that I wasn't counting when we passively had the news on in the background as TV time and that we weren't always setting a stellar example for our kids as we tended to use our phones during what should have been family time.

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