Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston, Texas. Child care Montessori provider in Champions, The Woodlands, Spring Texas Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston
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In Montessori, we’re taught not to praise our children because it’s a form of reward, and rewards are self-defeating. The thinking is that when the reward is not given, the behavior will disappear. If the child is performing the work for his own benefit, the behavior perpetuates itself. We’re starting with the assumption that the work is desirable whether it’s because it’s interesting (like dinosaurs or trucks), it’s new and different, it’s something mom or dad does (as in read or cook dinner), or it’s a challenge (as in climb to the top of the play structure). Your job as a parent is to encourage your child to do more of the positive thing and not to criticize or de-motivate your child as a way to get things done. Here are some thoughts for you:

• Tone is critical. Our children can spot hypocrisy a mile away. Your trust, confidence, and acceptance must be authentically conveyed in your voice, facial expression, and body language. If you feel impatient, superior, or angry, no words will ring true.

• Progress is vital for people learning new skills. Children need encouragement when they show improvement. Notice signs of moving in a positive direction and comment on them, regardless of whether the improvement is large or small. This gives your child hope that she can make major gains. You might say:

“You did ____ better this time.”

“You couldn’t do that last week. Now you can!”

“Wow! You’re really getting good at that.”

• Always encourage children’s efforts. Encourage them to try things, especially things they think they cannot do. Children learn through experience, but might be afraid to try things because they believe they might make a mistake or fail. This is particularly true if they’ve been told they’re “smart”. They may need your support to help them risk making a mistake. You might say:

“You thought you couldn’t do that, but you tried.”

“You figured it out for yourself.”

“You’re really working hard on that.”

• Acknowledge your own mistakes. By modeling the courage to be imperfect, the adult is sending a powerful message that it is okay to make mistakes, to not always be ‘right’ all the time. You might say:

“Silly me, I forgot to do that.”

“Oops, I said the wrong thing. I didn’t mean that.”

“I grabbed a blue marker instead of the red one.”

• Notice other people’s good behaviors, and comment on them. Our kids pick it up really quickly. You might add analysis of the behavior, like loyal, courageous, honest, kind, etc., while you’re talking. It gives our kids vocabulary for behaviors.