After almost a decade of parenting little ones, I’ve realized that Montessori Parenting allows my children to grow into healthy, confident kids. Read on to learn over 100 easy Montessori parenting ideas!
What is Montessori Parenting?
Montessori parenting is a relaxed style of parenting that allows for the child to practice life skills, learn at their own pace, and explore in a natural and self guided way. As the parent, you are there to guide your child and provide a safe and approachable world that allows for growth.
Montessori parenting allows children to learn new skills and essential life skills in their own time. Even as young as a year, a child can begin learning simple tasks like drinking from a cup, putting toys away, and wiping messes with a cloth.
Children are born curious and full of adventure, and if we slow life down to embrace their world we will see how they delight in learning. You can easily incorporate this method into your parenting style with some of these 100+ Montessori parenting tips.
Can Anyone Embrace the Montessori Method?
To embrace Montessori parenting philosophies, you do NOT have to be a homeschooling family or send your child to a Montessori school. Your children can benefit from developing a Montessori lifestyle when you are all at home and in the early years before preschool.
These easy Montessori ideas will benefit you whether you are homeschooling full time or not!
Montessori parenting is the early approach to raising responsible kids!
You Do Not Have To Embrace The Montessori Method 100% To Benefit From It
Want to know a secret? I am not a 100% Montessori mom. I take what works for our family and apply what I love. If I disagree with an aspect of the Montessori Method, or feel it doesn’t fit our children’s needs, I simply don’t use it!
But, we still benefit SO much from applying this method. Much of it came naturally to me because of the holistic and patient parenting method of my own mom. (Only I wish I was as patient as she was, ha!).
Read this article for tips on homeschool morning routines.
Easy Montessori Parenting Philosophies
The Montessori Method can be easily adapted into your regular parenting rhythms. All it takes is a little thought and intention in how you parent. Here are some of the Montessori Philosophies that I have found most useful:
- Let your child grow in their own way at their own pace (no comparing and striving)
- Trust your child’s unique growth and interests (For example, my 5 year old had a stall in his reading journey. I let him rest. After a few months, he was ready to jump back in and from there his reading skills took off like lightning!)
- Seek to model the behavior you wish to see in your child
- Be patient with your child when learning simple tasks like putting on shoes
- Allow your child ample time every day to think, explore, scribble and learn completely on their own. (You are there for safety reasons and to answer questions, of course!)
- Trust that simple life experiences are educational and valuable for your child. A walk in a nature park, laying in the grass on a summer day, playing in dirt, etc
- Keep an eye out for when a child is more open to learning a skill (the Montessori Method calls these “sensitive periods). Provide the support and resources needed during these times.
- Create an orderly, child centered environment for learning
- Embrace minimalism in your home
- Believe that your child has the ability, with your guidance, to self educate in many ways (this creates a life long learner!)
- Embrace simplicity in your parenting. Allow nature, books and exploring to be the focus
- Make use of natural materials in your home and in your child’s belongings as much as possible
- Let your child participate in life, make decisions where appropriate, and gently learn from their mistakes
- Choose screen time wisely, and allow kids to participate in real life and actually experience boredom
- Encourage your child’s passions and let them explore their and expand their skills
Montessori Discipline Ideas
Let me begin this section with this quote from Maria Montessori: “Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future… Let us treat them with all the kindness which we would wish to help to develop in them.”
If we want our children to learn respect and kindness, we must plant those seeds young by modeling the behavior and affirming their positive actions.
If you are growing in this area, I want you to know that I am too. None of us are perfect, but we can all learning, growing, and striving to be amazing parents.
Here are a few of the ways I have been incorporating Montessori discipline ideas into my parenting:
- Avoid talking down to or about your child in a negative way. Use gentle correction when needed
- Teach your child what you want them to do, instead of focusing just on negatives. This takes a lot of repetition!
- Teach the child about natural consequences, and let them make their own choices (within reason)
- Ask children about their behaviors in order to open up their thinking towards growth.
- Let children work out their struggles with siblings (as safe and appropriate)
- Be patient with your child in their behaviors, seeking to understand what is motivating them
- When talking with your child, kneel down on their level and seek eye contact
- Affirm your child in their own discoveries, be proactive in affirming their interests and unique personality!
- Strive to respect your child, even when they are not respecting you. Take a deep breath and short time out if needed before addressing behavior issues.
- Take some time to think/journal what it means to respect your child, and how you can practice this in day to day life. This was an immensely helpful parenting exercise for me!
- Encourage children to problem solve when conflict arrives with other children. Ask questions in order to gently guide them.
- Seek to understand your child, try to avoid talking over them or assuming the worst. Genuinely look for their perspective on each situation.
- Model apologizing to your children for your own mistakes. Let them see you be vulnerable, and malleable. Let them know that you also are on a path of growth (aren’t we all!).
- Recognize and reflect back what your child is feeling, and not just negative emotions! Help them to learn about emotions by talking about them.
- This is actually a concept from the Bible, but I think it applies very well here: don’t exasperate your children! “Do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them.” Go slow and try to view life from the age perspective of your child
Easy Outdoor Ideas For Montessori Parenting
- Buy kid sized shovels, gloves and trowels. Start a garden with your kids, and let them have their own plot of dirt to learn and create in.
- When possible, allow your children to have livestock of some kind. Backyard chickens are the easiest option with immediate farm to table results. (For context, my 3 year old can gather eggs, clean them and store them… and he loves these tasks!).
- Let your child help you choose flowers and plants for the yard and partake in planting them.
- Take your kiddos to open ended nature areas, like the beach or a nature park. Let them explore the rocks, sticks and plants and see what they come up with while you simply watch.
- Take kids to a beach or sandy area with just a few toys. You’ll be amazed at how long they will play!
- Pack a picnic lunch and go for a hike- let your child lead the way
- Read out loud to kids under a blue sky with a blanket
- Find a bird sanctuary that allows for walking. Supply your kids with binoculars and a birding book. Enjoy the time together just relaxing and watching the wildlife.
- Explore the sky on a clear night. Explain the basics of constellations and point out a few. Encourage your kids to keep eyes on the night sky.
- Supply basic twine for your kids. Encourage them to build rafts next to a quiet stream (with your supervision of course).
- Hang up bird feeders around your house to encourage interest. Keep a pair of binoculars at easy reach. Hummingbirds are especially fun to watch- we use this feeder to great success.
- Find a safe stream, body of water or beach that you can explore together regularly
- Visit seasonal berry patches for exploration and adventure and berries (or grow your own!)
- Limit screens and take advantage of rain puddles, snow storms and sun and let your child play, be free and create.
Montessori Reading Ideas
Introducing your child to quality books and letting them touch, feel and experience them from a young age is essential to the Montessori method. Books help open a child’s mind to new concepts and possibilities.
- Make a nightly bedtime routine of reading outloud to your child
- Keep books on nature, science, engineering and more within easy reach of your child
- Hang up bright and colorful alphabets at eye level to your child
- Provide a CD player and stack of books on cd that your children can listen to as desired (or monitor an ipad with the same options for audio books)
- Head to the library, find a safe spot where you can watch the kids, and let them prowl through books for hours
- Encourage the art of storytelling and make up fun fictional characters with your kids
- Provide a Montessori alphabet for early readers that they can touch, hold and explore
- Purchase sandpaper letters and let your child explore them and talk about them with you
- Use a wood alphabet tracing board to teach proper letter formation and encourage early letter recognition
- Love and enjoy books yourself, and let your child see the value of literature as you explore books together.
- Point out letters and words when you are out and about. Stop signs, bathrooms signs, and advertisements are great ways to start recognizing letters and sight words. (age 2+)
One of the best things you can do for your child is to allow them to take on responsibility at an early age. My friend Elizabeth over at Nourishing Wild Souls has an excellent list of age appropriate chores for 5 year olds. Be sure to check it out!
Montessori Habits and Training
These Montessori habits can be incorporated into your daily routines. You will need to slow life down a bit, study your child, and practice patience. But, they are so worth the growth you will see in your child:
- Allow your child to do as much as they can for themselves from a young age
- Allow your child to dress themselves, even if they struggle or do it wrong. (If they ask for help, help! Remember you are still there for them as a parent during Montessori parenting).
- Store cups, plates, forks and spoons at child level and encourage table setting
- Establish chores from a young age that they can easily and happily accomplish. Around age 2 interest in household duties will really peak. Let them have spray bottles, non toxic cleaners, rags
- Provide a child size broom and dust pan
- Use a natural cleaning solution and microfiber cloths when cleaning and let your children have their own set!
- Encourage and support your child’s dreams, and provide tools and support for children to explore their unique interests
- Encourage and affirm your child often as they develop essential life skills such as putting on a jacket, sweeping up a mess, or hanging a towel up
- Bring your child into the kitchen and cook together
- Do laundry with your child from a young age, give them ownership of their clothes
- Let children plan dinner and design a tablescape
- Keep quality books and art supplies easily accesible so children can self direct quiet times
- Allow your children to be involved in projects around the home as appropriate
- Allow your child to be responsible or co-responsible for a pet
- Smile often and empower your child with the words you say
Biblical Montessori Parenting Ideas
- Use the Fruit of the Spirit to teach your child about emotions and self control
- Encourage your children to act out Bible stories and verses with you
- Model faith through reading your Bible, prayer, and worship
- Model the Gospel by confessing to your kids that you are a sinner as well, and that you need God’s hope and help
- Show your children how to live in grace and humbleness by apologizing when necessary
- From a young age, implement activities where you actively love and serve others- for example, homegrown flowers given to a neighbor
- Use your nature times to draw attention to God’s creation and how He cares for us
- Provide simple wooden instruments for your children to use during praise and worship times
- Provide copies of the Jesus Storybook Bible for your kids to enjoy (we wore ours out and had to buy another copy!)
- Focus on processing emotions through God’s truth during hard moments, and His redemption for us no matter how hard life can be
- Collect and display quality, wholesome art that reflects the Glory of God
- Affirm your kids with Scripture, allowing them to grow in confidence in who they are
Easy Montessori Activities Parents Can Provide
I am not a mama who loves complicated learning activities. Luckily with the Montessori method, you do not have to be a crafty Pinterest mom. Here are a few easy, simple ideas:
- Magnablocks allow for endless hours of play (although plastic, I am including these because they are open ended and allow such creativity- my kids have spent hundreds of hours with these)
- Let your children have boxes of all shapes and sizes and some markers or watercolors to decorate. You’ll be amazed at what they create out of cardboard!
- Limit coloring books and instead provide blank paper and quality crayons or colored pencils, as well as age appropriate age appropriate scissors and glue sticks
- Invest in a quality set of wood blocks with lots of pieces
- Use a set of sandpaper alphabet letters for toddlers
- Make a simple at home play dough, and provide extra flour, rolling pins and cookie cutters
- Every summer designate a part of the yard for kids to have free range in (complete with mud!)
- Go for walks and let your child choose the path
- Let toddlers do beginner sewing activites, and provide sewing materials for the older ones
- Let toddlers peel bananas, spread peanut butter, etc and let older children cook
- Ask open ended questions to encourage imagination and thought
Setting Up A Montessori Home For Children
Setting up a Montessori style home for your children does not have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, the more simplistic the better! Try to envision your home from your child’s point of view and make it easily accessible for their growth!
We do not have a homeschool room (sadly), so I have had to adapt and do what works well in each home we have.
- Celebrate art with your children and hang pictures at eye level of your child when possible
- Keep books out and accessible to children in each room they spend time relaxing or learning in
- Keep toys, books and supplies in limited quantities with designated homes
- Provide bins and cubbies for easy organization for each child
- Set up coat hangers at child height
- Use a child sized table and chairs for art, school, etc
- Place dishes, cups and silverware where children can easily access them
- Collect natural treasures with your children and display them (rocks, shells, birdnests, etc)
- Encourage children to grow flowers and decorate with them, keep vases available
- Embrace minimalism! This is so hard with children, but minimizing your home is a key part of Montessori education. Streamline books, toys, clothes, and clutter!
- De-feature screens in your home! Tuck computers away, hide televisions if possible and focus on the joy of living!