Patient Parenting


Patient Parenting

The checkout line at a grocery store. The waiting room in your doctor’s office. The trendy new restaurant in your neighborhood on a Saturday night. What do these places have in common? They test your patience. You put up with the inconvenience of waiting because of the eventual reward – a stocked refrigerator, a clean bill of health, a delicious meal shared with a loved one.

Parenting also requires a great deal of patience – which is just as much a skill as changing a diaper or putting together a crib.

Here are three techniques to help you work on being a patient parent.

1. Resist the temptation to take over.

Children are sponges when it comes to information and experiences. Take a step back and watch them enjoy the satisfaction of accomplishing something on their own. It’s okay if it takes your son five minutes to tie his shoe! Allow them the space to grow into individuals – not a junior version of you – by encouraging your children to try new things without your help.

2. Recognize that you’re a role model.

People act differently when they know someone’s watching them. For better or worse, your children see and hear everything you do when they’re with you. So next time the traffic light turns yellow, hit the brake instead of the gas pedal. Stop looking at your watch every 30 seconds while the barista is making your espresso. You don’t want your child to be the one throwing a tantrum because he has to wait for his turn on the slide at the playground.

3. Slow down.    

Spend a few minutes really listening to your daughter’s detailed description of the finger painting she created in art class. Put down the iPad and watch your son try over and over again to do a perfect somersault. When you find yourself getting impatient, stop what you’re doing and really think about why you feel so rushed.

Most of the time you’ll have trouble coming up with a good answer.

By Matt Freid

School is out! An easy DIY to do outside this summer.

Giant Bubble Maker

1. Thread a piece of string (2-3 feet long) through 2 plastic straws

2. Shape into a large loop, tie string in a knot, hide knot inside straw

3. Add two straw handles by pinching ends and inserting inside “loop” straws

4. Dunk string and straws inside bubble solution

5. Lift up by handles, hold in the air, and let the wind do the rest!

The Montessori Legacy in Early Childhood Development

Are you informed about preschools and the basis for curricular pedagogy used at the schools you are considering?  I highly recommend a commitment to exploring this for parents, because it also helps us understand how rigorously a school supports a particular model, or whether a school practices modified pedagogical principles. Hybridization in teaching and learning styles often evolve as trends based on new information emerge about child well being.

One of the world’s most recognized pioneers in early childhood development (ECD), was Maria Montessori.  To better understand the essence of the Montessori Education System, it is useful to consider her ideas within their foundational contexts.  Dr. Montessori (1870-1952) was an Italian physician and educator.  She first came to her philosophy about child-rearing through medical training, specializing in problems with development and children’s aptitude for learning and socialization.

In 1913, Montessori published a striking work, now dated, called Pedagogical Anthropology.  Nearly 600 pages, the compendium is a forerunner to statistical assessments in childhood development, both physical and psychosocial.  Have you ever thought about measurements your child’s nurse or pediatrician takes on your child – data that pinpoint the circumference of your child’s head, his or her height and weight within cohort range? The genesis of this tradition in assessments and benchmarks came about from Montessori’s and her peers modeling in new pedagogical theory.

While this work was one of several works by Dr. Montessori, an enquirer learns from this text, that she came to understand, for instance, the emotion in children’s’ faces, through studies in the underlying muscle tissue.  When she describes body types, photographs provide details of skeletal development and articulation in very young children.  Based on this knowledge, Montessori sought to understand the experience of the young child, beginning with a tabula rasa (“blank slate”).  Her belief was, once life begins, knowledge comes from experience and perception.

From this standpoint, Montessori focused – as is well-known – on the individual child.  One of her most important works, The Child in the Family, describes how important it is for parents and educators to follow “the spiritual expressions of the child.”  A central tenet of the Montessori Method is valuing, rather than “interfering” with a child’s activities and engagement.  She believed the educational system should provide children, “…shelter in the storm, the oasis in the desert…” , meaning, an environment free of the burdens imposed by attitudes in the adult-centered world.

Montessori was very much influenced by psychoanalysis, the development of the ego, and childhood fluorescence (and trauma). She championed the profound needs of the child in the ego’s struggle to adjust to adults and others in society, and she felt these childhood needs were not recognised by adult society, and could lead to “… an abyss of unexpected evils.”  The “repressed spirit” of the individual child therefore, finds expression in the Montessori Method. The established pedagogy, or ‘system’ for Montessori is dedicated to this emphasis on healthy ego development, and to overcoming damaging aspects of education and society. Her curriculum was an early, child-centered model that emphasizes spontaneous play and options.

Fast forward a century, and Montessori’s ego-development model may seem a little old-fashioned. But institutions continue to integrate her most influential principles into their curriculum.  Her ideas have had globally constructive influences on childhood development theory, on education and educators. Educators continue to value the individuation of the child, the challenges of separating the child from the freedoms of the natural self.  Modern educators influenced by Montessori’s ideas, teach today without being the “educationalists” that earlier critics of Montessori condemned. In a century, Montessori’s pedagogical philosophy diffused universally to cultures and nations of diverse origins.  UNICEF supports the rescue of the child from adult suffering, based on Montessori’s clarity in addressing the individual child’s needs and healthy adjustment to society.

Related Online Topics:

In Wikipedia: The Montessori Education System
In Goodreads: (Clio Montessori Series) To Educate the Human Potential, excerpts by Maria Montessori