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Let the Kids Focus

LET THE KIDS FOCUS- one of the major things I’ve learned from Montessori.

LET THE KIDS FOCUS- one of the major things I’ve learned from Montessori. We’ve been following the Montessori philosophy in one way or another since Jasmin’s birth. From studying the philosophy in college, to interning at a Montessori school, to having my first child and going all out with materials and home set up, to relaxing a bit when Jaden was born, to Jasmin attending a Montessori preschool, to starting my own homeschool Montessori program. We have been a Montessori family in various degrees and forms for the past seven years.

I’ve learned a lot as a parent from the philosophy, but one major thing I’ve learned is how to let my children focus.

  • I don’t interrupt them when they are engrossed in play. Play is a child’s work. I was amazed to see how many adults were interrupting their own children yesterday at the Discovery Museum, to show them random things.

  • I let the kids figure it out before jumping in to “help.” This is the hardest one, because our instinct is to immediately help our kids when they struggle, even thought they may WANT and be ABLE to figure it out on their own if we stopped getting in the way. Take a breath, and give them the chance.

  • I keep their stimulation baseline low. Our home is pretty minimalistic, and we do not buy plastic flashy toys, or toys that play “for” the child. We keep things neutral colored, of natural materials when possible. No iPads, or interactive screens. We try to keep shows and movies older… not the programming stuff that is overly stimulating (definitely no Cocomelon).

  • I don’t really buy any “sensory” activities. In my opinion, being outside is the best and most immersive sensory experience. Or, throw them in the bathtub. No slime, Gobi beads, knetic sand in this house. It took me 7 years and 3 kids to finally buy a “sensory table,” and not sure we will keep it filled with rice. I may just put art supplies and legos in the bins instead

  • I don’t helicopter my kids, constantly praising, dictating, or talking to them. Imagine how annoyed you would be if another adult followed you around all day saying things like “Wow, that looks like a yummy soup you’re making! Great job, do you want to go drive your car now? You’re such a smart person to organize your filing cabinet like that!”

On Mondays, I spend a few hours in the classroom with Julian. At 1.5 years old, he amazes me with his focus. After a few weeks in the classroom, he knows to…

  • Take out a work mat

  • Unroll it

  • Pick a work from the shelf

  • Complete the work (this is where I sit back and OBSERVE instead of helping him immediately- it’s hard!)

  • Clean up his work

  • Put his mat back

Today I photographed him at every work he did, because I was simply in awe at his focus and determination and I loved watching him and wanted to document his day. He did the pouring work for fifteen minutes- totally immersed.

Here is an excellent video about the Montessori way to foster your child’s concentration, for those interested to learn more.

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