10 Tips to Doing Montessori at Home with Your Baby
Montessori has long been associated with young children but parenting techniques can benefit your baby from day one.
Montessori methods and independent schools range from toddlers all the way to young adulthood but that doesn't mean you cant start at home with your baby.
When to Start Using Montessori at Home
It’s never too early to start, and it’s never too late. You can start using Montessori right from birth, or even sooner. These is no need to wait and you can begin your Montessori journey the very moment you learn about it.
You can begin by changing the way you speak and act towards your baby, setting up convenient areas of your home, and integrating hands-on learning for your child now.
Montessori practices are sometimes used in nursing homes. So, regardless of your child’s age, you can start now.
Here are some tips to help you get started using Montessori at home with your baby.
No matter how old your baby is, keep using a mobile. At two months you can introduce mobiles with color and depth if you have been using black and white.
When your child is around three months old, look for signs of them batting at the mobile. Once they are batting, you can add some tactile mobiles with a bell or ring on a ribbon. Change the mobile to meet your baby's changing visual needs and keep them interested.
2. Use Montessori Toys
It is important to consider toys that are best for the Montessori method. Not everything qualifies as a Montessori toy, especially when it comes to toys without a purpose. Because Montessori is all about assessment, exploration, and observation, natural materials are best. Rock, cotton, wood, wool, ceramic, and metal are all recommended, because children can improve the senses by handling different textures.
Noncomplex and passive toys are encouraged, because children can use their imagination to play. Also, consider realistic toys that exist within the world.
Your baby will learn words and language through listening to you. Talk to your baby at every opportunity. When you and your baby are in the car, talk about what you see out the window and at the grocery store, name the various foods you pass on the aisles.
This is a good habit to form because you are giving your child the valuable gift of language and vocabulary.
4. Freedom of Movement
Freedom of movement in Montessori classrooms is where children are free to walk around the room and sit where they please. This also applies to babies.
In the first year of life, your baby is learning to move and control their body. They are learning to bring their hand to the mouth, roll over and lift their head. It is important to be sure the space is 100% child-proofed so they can begin to explore without being told "no" all of the time.
The Montessori approach does not use devices like swings and bouncy seats for babies, but instead gives them lots of free time on the floor to work on their growing skills. Montessori also supports natural gross motor development. This means you do not want to prop babies up in positions they can not get into on their own, like sitting or standing. Allowing them to learn on their own gives them confidence and gratification for their achievements.
5. Orderly Environment
One of the core principles of the Montessori method is keeping an orderly environment which sometimes seems impossible with babies. A Montessori inspired space should be simple, naturally or warmly lit, and organized.
It is best to have very few toys so that your baby isn't overwhelmed and can focus on what they’re doing. This can also make clean up easier for young children because there is less to put away.
6. Free Play
It is important to allow for a lot of free, uninterrupted play. Give your baby time and space, while providing them the freedom to be in control of their own environment.
Free play encourages concentration and helps strengthen attention spans. It also teaches your baby respect, showing you trust you and we believe in you having your own play time and space to do it. This free play time is normally done in an area on a playmat.
Repetition is part of the Montessori education that improves a child’s skills simply by allowing them to repeat a task as often as they want. The act of repeating something over and over may not be appealing to older children, but it is the way all babies learn in the beginning.
Repetition also encourages babies to develop their concentration, self-discipline, enjoyment of a task which can help in other areas of their lives.
8. Practice Observation
An easy way to practice observation is to put aside all distractions and sit a foot or so away from your baby while they are lying awake or during play time. Do not move or speak and quietly observe for five minutes while you write down your observations in a notebook.
If your baby is repeatedly interested in batting hanging toys, then you need to do is give them the freedom, materials, and space to do so.
9. Use Natural Simple Materials & Toys
Montessori does not believe in fancy or flashy toys that do all the work for the child. Toys that encourage children do something with their hands, like drop a ball in a box, or to stack rings to accomplish a task will entertain them for long periods of time, as they repeat the activity over and over.
Offer materials that strongly involve your baby to concentrate for more than a few seconds. Montessori believes the work of the hand and toys in which they can manipulate objects is very important for your child’s development .
10. Frustration Free Clothing
The clothing you choose through the stages of your baby's motor development should be practical and properly fitting. Non-restrictive clothing reduces frustration with their first movements and sets them up for success in freedom of movement.
If you put your baby down while learning to crawl, while they are wearing a dress that catches the knees, then you have created an obstacle for them. If your baby runs into too many obstacles, it may lower their self-motivation.
The Montessori Method focuses on developing a child’s sense of independence through hands-on learning and a planned environment that helps your baby's growth during developmental stages.