Montessori Philosophy in Parenting: Child Observation
Importance of Child Observation
As parents, we often feel the need to direct our children’s every action and decision, but instead, based on Montessori philosophy in parenting, we should simply perform child observation and follow your child’s interests and needs.
Have you ever keep track of how much time you spent watching your child? By that, I don’t mean watching your child half-heartedly while scrolling on your phone or iPad. I mean purely focusing your attention on your child for an extended period of time. By sitting back in the comfort of your Montessori home and observing what your child is looking at, what he/she says, and what he/she does, you can learn a lot about your growing child. Children have so much to teach us about their needs and interests if we will only take the time to pay attention and perform proper child observation.
Child Observation: How to observe?
One good tip for child observation is to keep a bound notebook or journal of some sort in which you can make notes and keep a record of your observations. This will help you track how your child’s skills and interests develop over time. Regularly set aside some time just to observe your child. Sit somewhere comfortable close to him/her so that you can easily see and hear him/her and observe the interaction between your child and any other children with whom he/she might be playing with. Make notes every so often about what you see – these will accumulate to form an interesting record of your child’s behavior at different ages and stages of development. It will also help you to notice if a pattern of behavior is emerging at a particular time. Try to interpret what your child’s behavior means. When you notice something new, think of ways to introduce some new activities that will feed and extend this new emerging interest.
What to Observe?
Remember, change is the only constant in this world. Your child’s preferences, interests, and abilities will change in unpredictable ways. Every time you are doing child observation, try to forget about previous experiences or perceptions and stay in the moment, focusing on what is really happening right now.
While your child is playing, do you notice which toys he/she select? How does he/she play with them? Does he/she tend to play alone or with others? Does he/she prefer fun and engaging children songs over classical music? Does your child laugh at a particular type of funny sound? Do you notice any patterns over time? Observe how your child moves around the house. Does he/she move from place to place quietly or with lots of disruption? Is there a room in your home that he/she prefers to be in? Can you identify what seems to attract your child to that particular room?
When your child is eating, take note of what he/she enjoys most. Can your child drink without spilling and use a fork, knife, and spoon appropriately with good hand-eye coordination? Does he/she enjoy mealtime? How does he/she behave? Is this a time when he/she particularly enjoys talking to you about his/her day?
These are all examples of things you can observe while doing child observation. Of course, you can add your own items as you see fit.
As you are doing child observation, try not to interfere with anything your child is doing unless he/she asks you to get involved. Your objective in doing this exercise is to observe from the side and learn from what your child is doing, not to direct and correct him/her. Child observation is an important concept in Montessori parenting, comment down below of what sort of things you usually take note of when observing your child.
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