Montessori gifts that are more important than toys

I am writing this blog post as a reminder of what is important. 

In the middle of the gift season, we might forget about the non-material aspect of parenting and go into a frantic mode, spending on toys and big items. 

I believe that we are well-intentioned and many parents I work with make sure they buy "beautiful", "Montessori friendly" toys. 

Here are 5 Gifts that the Montessori education gave me. Those 5 gifts guide my parenting. I hope you will find them helpful.

Gift of presence:

We became parents because we want to have a relationship with our children. The Montessori approach encourages us to cook, bake, and clean with our children. Most parents love to support their children's learning. I love to offer gifts that encourage connection. We make sure we spend time "doing things" with our children. 

Gift of trust:

Montessori encouraged us to trust the children. She saw them as being more capable that we ever thought at the time. Be like Montessori, see your children with new eyes: observe them and wait. They are not constantly up to mischief. We need to trust that our children have good intentions and to trust them. They are capable of much more that we think. They can be responsible when given the tools within an encouraging environment. 

Gift of respect:

Montessori said that she had uncovered the natural laws of development. Like her, let's learn about our child's natural development. That will you to have expectations in line with what your child can do. You will then be able to respect your child's development. 

Gift of freedom:

Montessori encourages us to allow our children to be free as possible. For centuries, grown-ups have been in control of their children. 

Like us, our children want to be free. It's a basic human right. 

Children should be free to explore within a safe environment. How many times do we say no while we could say yes? 

Our toddlers are little scientists and need to touch, manipulate and learn about cause and effect. 

We should allow our children to make choices. Even if only choosing between two healthy and acceptable options. 

Older children should be free to ask questions, to conduct their own research and to explore more than a prescribed curriculum.

Gift of unconditional love:

Love your children for who they are not what you want them to be.

We dream about our children before they are born. We imagine them. We project our unaccomplished dreams on them. We want the best for them. But it put so much pressure on our children to live up to our expectations. 

Refrain yourself from judgement and praise. 

If you find that "gift" hard to give, focus on loving yourself unconditionally first. 

I hope this post has inspired you! Let me know your thoughts in a comment!

About the Author Carine Robin

Carine Robin has a Master’s Degree in Psychology, specialising in child psychology. She worked for various social services in her home country of Belgium, before moving to Ireland in 2006. It was there that she started working in a nursery and discovered Montessori education. After having her first child, her passion for the philosophy grew and she qualified as a Montessori teacher and managed a preschool. Carine has been running a Montessori based parents and toddler group and coaching families for 9 years. She now also runs an online group for over 14000 parents, sharing her knowledge and passion with people from around the world. In 2018, Carine realised families needed more support and launched her popular online parenting courses and monthly subscription boxes, full of personally designed Montessori materials.