How often I wished for some "peace and quiet" as a multi-tasking parent! Some moms say they retreat to the bathroom for time alone, only to find their children knocking or calling through the door. How can we keep our own inner composure and help our children learn to be thoughtful of others and content with themselves? In other words, what makes peace happen?
Aristotle observed that "We acquire virtues by first having put them into action." Recent research confirms that behavior change often precedes changes in attitudes and feelings. And Maria Montessori got it right by modeling calmness and respecting children's needs as she helped them learn the Silence Game, the lessons of Grace and Courtesy, and how to care for themselves, the classroom and everything in it.
If you've visited a Montessori class, you've seen this in action. There is a peaceful hum as more than twenty young children engage themselves in work either separately or together. It is easy to adapt some of Montessori's principles at home.
You no doubt are already providing your child with a sense of security by your regular routines of daily living. Knowing what to expect makes room for peace of mind as there is no need to be anxious about what might happen next. As your child learns to help with chores and play independently, he gains the ability to feel in control. You can continue to build both inner and outer peacefulness by adapting the following ideas to your routines:
As the holiday season approaches we have many opportunities to help our children learn about gratitude, empathy, generosity, and courtesy. By incorporating some of the following ideas into our homes, we can create a more peaceful world.
—by Jane M. Jacobs, M.A., Montessori Educational Consultant at Montessori Services. She is a trained primary Montessori directress and also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has taught children aged 2 to 7 years in Montessori schools, Headstart, and also in a preschool for children with developmental challenges. In her counseling practice, she helps individuals, couples, and families.
—Originally Published 2011