Montessori principles were an important part of the way my husband and I helped our children become self-disciplined. We used the principles of freedom within limits, of consistency and order.
Starting the Cycle of Self-Discipline
I have a number of posts about gentle discipline. I also have a post on “A Montessori Approach to Discipline.” They all emphasize respect for the child and the importance of consistency. As a preschool teacher, I was taught to give children the security of consistency … of knowing they could count on me to do what I said I would do.
As a Montessori teacher, consistency was expanded to include an orderly environment and an orderly sequence of steps to follow in many activities. I learned the importance of meeting the child’s sensitive period for order, which is typically ages 2-4, with its peak at age 3. (See “Encourage Your Child’s Sensitive Periods.”)
I found both as a teacher and as a parent that the right combination of freedom and order led to self-discipline. Our children’s feeling that they could trust their father and me led to their own trustworthiness.
The Cycle Continues
Our children are happy with the idea of my husband and me using the same principles when caring for our grandchildren. Our new granddaughter will grow up experiencing a sense of order at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and knowing that she will be able to trust us to keep our word. (Note: The order at Grandma and Grandpa’s house won’t be perfect, but Montessori principles don’t need perfection to be effective.)
Even though our granddaughter is too young for traditional Montessori lessons, we work to maintain a sense of order between her home and ours, respecting her schedule and observing her needs for order in her day.
I still believe in allowing babies and young children the freedom to explore, to choose their work, to follow their inner urgings. And I still believe that freedom without consistency is chaos. I believe that if we find just the right balance of freedom within limits, of consistency and order, then our granddaughter and future grandchildren can reach the same level of self-discipline our children have.
PREPARING MONTESSORI SPACES IN YOUR HOME
See “How to Create a Montessori-Friendly Home” for ideas for a number of levels. Here are some of my main home environment posts here:
- How to Prepare a Montessori Baby Room at Home (roundup post)
- How to Prepare a Montessori Toddler Environment at Home (roundup post)
- Preparing a Montessori Newborn Baby Space at Home
- How to Use Montessori Mobiles to Encourage a Newborn Baby’s Development and Delight
- Preparing a Montessori Baby Space with Shelves at Home
- Preparing a Montessori Baby Space in Your Living Room
- Preparing a Montessori Baby-Toddler Space at Home
- Preparing Montessori Toddler Spaces at Home (includes my Montessori toilet learning setup)
- How to Prepare Montessori Shelves for a 2 Year Old
- How to Prepare Montessori Shelves for a 2½ Year Old
- How to Prepare Montessori Shelves for a 3 Year Old
- How to Prepare Montessori Shelves for a 3½ Year Old
- How to Prepare Montessori Shelves for a 4 Year Old
- How to Prepare Montessori Shelves for a 4½ Year Old
- How to Prepare Montessori Shelves for a 5 Year Old
- How to Prepare Themed Montessori Shelves
- How to Prepare a Montessori Home Environment for Afterschooling
- Create an Attractive Home Environment from Montessori at Home!
- How to Set Up a Montessori Homeschool Classroom
- How to Prepare Montessori Homeschool Spaces for Babies through First Graders
- How to Prepare a Montessori Space in Your Living Room for Toddlers Through Early Elementary
Learn more about my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to. Teach Grace and Courtesy!
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Photo Credit: Pink Tower Photo by Scott Robinson on Flickr Creative Commons.