Parenting Hack #2

expert-tips-on-child-anger_364x200_107668795#2 Decide what you will do:  This can also be called “be prepared, like a Boy/Girl Scout” ! Okay, a story from my own parenting, just to let you know I am real.  My daughter loved shoes.  Loved, loved, loved, loved them (still does; now she can buy her own shoes).  We went to the local shoe store, needing shoes, and looking forward to the full-service of this old-fashioned Boone institution.  Knowing the pitfalls of shopping with a shoe-loving 3 year old, I told her: “We are only buying one pair of shoes, okay?” (Well, there is that asking thing; I shouldn’t have asked!  See “Parenting Hack” #1)  She agreed, and we had a lovely time trying on shoes.  My secret weapon: I had decided that, if she balked at the “only one” rule, we would just leave.  Right then.  No talking; no choices.  I knew that there was at least a 20% chance that that day, or that issue, would be a great one for a science experiment called ” Does Mommy mean it?”

She picked a pair, and then another one.  I reminded her: one.  She proceeded to explode, melt down, erupt, whatever verb you like.  The nice sales ladies all said : “Awww, poor little thing!” (They must have meant me!)

So I said, sadly: “Now we have to leave.”  We left, no shoes.  She was under my arm in what I call the “football” or “sack of potatoes” hold.  Screaming and kicking (the “sack of potatoes” minimizes being kicked).  I didn’t say a thing (no one likes to be “I-told-you-so-ed”).  The bad news was that we had to do it all again.  The good news is that she was very impressed that I seemed to mean what I said.  The next time went better.

It makes ME feel better/safer/less crazy/less afraid of my own reaction if I know what I will do(or what I will NOT do).  Perhaps because I am not second-guessing myself, I am more likely to empathize, and less likely to be angry or react in ways that will do damage to our relationship.

Something Julie quotes is that it “lets us see our child as our beloved, instead of the enemy”!

The Wonderful Montessori Math Materials!


There was a recent discussion of Montessori materials on a Facebook page, and we (Montessori teachers) were VERY offended that someone posted a picture of this material presented incorrectly. 🙂

The original poster probably ran away, screaming, but it shows how passionate we are about the materials, how much we love themnumbers and counters, and how much thought we, and the teachers before us, all the way back to Montessori’s first school in 1907, put into how to present hard, abstract lessons to children.

In this material, for example, called “numbers and counters”, the counters are all in one color, so that the idea of quantity, and not color, is what is clear to the child. They are also kind of boring (not little teddy bears, for example), so that the abstract idea is the most clear. (We can count teddy bears, but we will probably get distracted by how cute they are and start to play “teddy bear city”, which is a great game, but not this one.)

This is a great lesson in one to one correspondence, which is hard for young children, who are presented numbers as a series of sounds: “one, two, three, seventeen, twenty, one hundred!” One to one correspondence means that there is one thing for each number counted, and requires slowing down to realize this. When you have to pick up one counter for each number, that slows you down. Usually the beginning presentations of this work have the teacher counting, one at a time, into the child’s hand, and then the child counting into the teacher’s hand, then counting again as they lay out the counters. If the child cannot “read” the numbers yet, the teacher lays the numbers out in order, reading them.

The teacher sets them up as shown, and, eventually, the child notices that one is “left over” at the bottom, with some of the numbers. This may be at four or five. The child has “discovered” odd numbers, and this discovery has more value than our teaching the concept.

Later, this work can be done with a friend, on two rugs, with the numbers mixed up, as a game, or with a younger child.

This is one of the beginning number presentations in a math curriculum which is contained in a book (we call them albums) which is 3-4 inches thick with lessons!

We love the math materials very much, and the children do, too!



Jane Nelson on Self-toileting, Sometimes Called “Toilet Training”

Jane Nelson on Self-toileting, Sometimes Called “Toilet Training”

I have written some stuff on this, but Jane Nelson (of Positive Discipline) says it as well or better.  This is a “take time for training” issue.  Once they are trained to deal with poop/pee and all that entails, and complete dressing/undressing on their own, it is no longer your concern and becomes the child’s issue, which is (whew) a relief, and will be much more successful for everyone.  Cheers!