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self-esteem

Entitlement: Been There, Done That

Few things trigger me more than interacting with a child who has an entitled attitude. rich-kidWhy? Because I was one of them. I grew up in a traditional Mexican upper-middle-class family, with a stay-at-home mom and two maids who did all the housework so we didn't have to. I never did my laundry, tidied my room, or set a table. Those things just happened!

When I was 18, my mom went back to school and decided that I needed to learn how to run a home. One night, my dad was coming home a bit later than...

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Prepare to be Amazed

prep-bananaMany parents like to help feed or dress their children, even when the children become capable of doing it on their own, because they feel it’s a way of showing love. While parents who follow the Montessori philosophy understand that it’s important to support their child’s budding independence, they sometimes don’t know how to channel their affection in a way that’s helpful to their child’s development!

You’ll be happy to know that in the Montessori philosophy, you – the parent – play a very...

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Show & Tell

It might seem like Montessori parents like to show off what their children can do: "Look, my baby can drink from a glass! My toddler can slice a cucumber!" But honestly, our excitement has nothing to do with bragging. At least for me, sharing my son's accomplishments is about telling other people: "Look what YOUR child is capable of, and imagine the sense of competence YOUR child can develop!"

Parents who are new to Montessori often observe a classroom and think: "My child would never fit in....

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Prepared Environment

During the first few years of life, the child's environment has to be constantly modified to support his changing needs. The first twelve months weren't such a challenge: mobiles gave way to hanging rings, then a few toys at ground level to encourage rolling over, followed by rolling objects to encourage crawling. A bar offered opportunities to pull up and cruise, and a push cart provided the necessary stability to encourage walking.

Now Zach is just shy of 14 months old, walking steadily, and...

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On Making Mistakes...

We've all heard that we should allow children to make mistakes, let them learn from their errors, etc. etc. However, I recently came across an interesting article by Alfie Kohn. He argues that letting children make mistakes without providing a supportive environment is not only not helpful, but can actually be detrimental. Here are a few highlights:
Maybe the problem is that the educational environment [in traditional schools] emphasizeshow wellstudents are doing rather thanwhatthey're doing:...

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A Celebration of Work on Labor Day Weekend

Going to work... Doing housework, yard work, homework... Yuck! For adults, work is something we want to do as little of as possible, because it takes time away from play! (This was recently confirmed by theTwitter Mood Map, which showed that people are considerably happier on the weekends, when fewer of us work.)

It's therefore understandable that one of the Montessori concepts which can throw parents for a loop is the idea that their little child will "work" in the classroom. Here are some...

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Filling the Bucket

An acquaintance recently posted this picture on his Facebook page:



Nice imagery... But how do you fill that darn bucket? Praise? Rewards? A bucket full of "good jobs", A+, and gold medals? Honestly, I don't think it's the parents' responsibility to fill the bucket. Only by letting the child fill it on his own will we ensure that it will never run dry.

The only way we can encourage the child to fill his own bucket is by giving him experiences in which he can find success. The crawling baby will...

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Montessori Weaning: Food and Independence (with video)

When Zach was around 4 months old, we started noticing that he was extremely interested in watching us eat. He would follow our fork from plate to mouth, opening his mouth in imitation of our actions and salivating madly! We knew the time had come to begin the weaning process.

The word "weaning" strikes fear in the heart of many parents. It is associated with the end of breastfeeding and connotes depriving the child of the nourishment and affection he has come to know and love. However,...

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