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5 Ways to Encourage Choice

Choice. What does choice really mean? I hear parents all the time saying things like:

"If you don't pick up (insert problem) your toys, we're not going to the (insert super fun activity that's been planned for the day) park." 

"Sit down in your seat. Sit down in you seat. Sit down in your seat....(insert any repetitive command)"

"How many times do I have to ask you to put your shoes on before you go outside."

"You've gone far enough. (Child starts crying.) Ok, you can go just a little bit further."

My dear friends, if you ever find yourself saying any of the things above - then "choice" can become your best friend. Choice is defined as, "an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities." This warrants a quick conversation about good choices and bad choices. Good choices are going to set you both up for success. Bad choices are not going to serve either of you. So you want to pick your choices carefully (and keep some in your pocket as well).


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How to Help Them Do It For Themselves

You may have noticed your child's desire to do things for themselves (possibly even repeat the same things over and over and over some more).These moments of opportunity are open windows for learning experiences and for the child to learn "how to" be independent. It's during these times of an open window also referred to as sensitive periods that science has shown the circuitry of the brain is most primed to create new neuro patterns that will aid the child for the rest of their life. If you don't want to take my word for it, check out what Harvard has to say about this topic. This doesn't mean we can never help them again nor does it mean we shouldn't help them to begin with. The opinion here is that the Montessori parent or adult mentoring a child in their self formation should rather guide the child with the appropriate modeling and breaking down of steps so the child can eventually become independent. The tricky part here is resisting the urge to either do it for them or rush...

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An independent child is a confident child. A confident child is a happy child. A happy child is far less likely to engage in power struggles + is prepared for academic learning success!