I am honored to welcome Maren Schmidt to the Trillium Montessori blog today! If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t already know Maren, she is the author of Building Cathedrals Not Walls and Understanding Montessori: A Guide for Parents. She also writes the very popular column Kids Talk and leads a wide variety of workshops for parents and teachers. Here at Trillium we use her Montessori Parent Support Program with all of our new families. We LOVE it!
1. Respect the work of your child.
Children are involved in the huge task of trying to build an adult to live in a world that we cannot begin to imagine.
2. Be a help to life.
When we assist children by creating a place where children can grow to be unique individuals, we not only help that particular child but we help all life on our planet.
3. Any unnecessary help is a hindrance.
Use it or lose it. When we do for our children anything they can do for themselves we slow down their progress towards building strong independent people.
4. You don’t have to react to popular culture.
Step back and think about what your child really needs. Does the pop world of toys, movies and teen celebrities support the developmental needs or personality of your child and your family? For example, are cartoons the best way to spend Saturday morning? Is a certain video game important to your family’s long-term goals?
5. Parents need to be the adult in the relationship.
Parenting is not about being your child’s best buddy. It’s about leadership and guiding your child to adulthood.
6. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries.
Sometimes we have to be the bad guy by calling our children back to a safe path. Setting firm expectations for behavior helps our children learn to be responsible and understand the relationship between freedom and responsibility.
7. Have children take responsibility.
Our children are much more capable than we give them credit. Give your children responsibility and the freedom to make mistakes within the boundaries that you’ve set.
8. Let kids be kids.
On the other hand, children aren’t little adults. Their needs are much different. Understand developmentally what your child needs, and let your children be kids, not miniature grown-ups.
9. Understand sleep and nutrition for children.
Children need more than eight hours of sleep per night, more in the range of 10 to 14 hours. Children’s diets require complex carbohydrates versus simple sugars. Invest some time to understand dietary and sleep needs of children and how they differ from adults.
10. Children need quiet and transition times.
Modern day children seem to have their days, weeks, months and years programmed from getting up to bedtime. “Do nothing” time and adequate time to move from one activity to another helps make for a happier healthier child.
11. Give your child your quality time. And lots of it.
Children require one-on-one adult time to thrive and survive. Today our children have to compete with cell phones, computers, jobs, etc. for parent attention. Block off time each day to focus only on your child’s and your relationship. Amazingly ten minutes of focused time per day can make a huge difference in both your lives.
About Maren Schmidt
Maren Stark Schmidt founded a Montessori school and holds a Masters of Education from Loyola College in Maryland. She has over thirty years experience working with children and families and holds teaching credentials from the Association Montessori Internationale. She writes the weekly blog and syndicated news columns, Kids Talk and is author of Understanding Montessori: A Guide for Parents and Building Cathedrals Not Walls. Contact her at Maren@marenschmidt.com. Or visit MarenSchmidt.com.
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