Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Nurturing Kindness and Respect

When parents visit a Montessori classroom and observe the children in action, one of the key things they frequently mention is how helpful and kind the children are with one another. The children interact with one another in a kind and respectful manner.

How does this happen? We treat the children with respect and kindness. We discuss how to talk to one another and how to treat other people.

Start with some easy basics now, and introduce more complex things as your child gets older.

Here are some ideas:

1. Is someone at home sick? Involve your child in caring for this person. For example, "Mommy is in bed because she doesn't feel well. Let's be very quiet and prepare some tea for her." When the tea is ready, you can say, "Would you like to carry her napkin?" And the two of you go up to Mommy's room.

2. Ask your child to help you and thank him or her for it. For example, "This chair is heavy. Would you please help me carry it?" And, afterwards, "Thank you so much. It was nice of you to help me."

3. Discuss the fact that someone has to wake up early, so we need to be quiet at a certain time in the evening. Point to the clock and explain.

4. Ask your child if he or she would mind helping you fold the sheet for your bed (this starts a relationship in which you both help each other, so that the help does not all go one way). The two of you then have fun folding the sheet.

5. When guests arrive, let your child carry a small tray (when he or she has worked with this exercise successfully many times) to serve a snack.