I wish I could remember how exactly I discovered Montessori. I’m a total blank. One day I barely know what it means and the next I’m knee deep in library books trying to become an expert. I still haven’t mastered a thing but we’re being very conscious of how we’re interacting with Baby D. We don’t follow Montessori 110% (no floor bed here, occasional Bumbo use for sure and total baby wearing advocates) but we do believe applying the methods and being conscious about our choices makes a huge difference.
I also know we’re doing something right because Baby D is doing great developmentally. And, no, I’m not saying that because I’m her mom. The doc has said it and based on what I’m reading she’s meeting all her milestones early or right on time. She is also a very content baby which I attribute to our being so in tune with her needs and respecting her. Not only that, but Montessori has given us a confidence we didn’t know we could have as parents. We know we’re giving her space and allowing her to develop at her own pace. It feels wonderful to let her show us what she needs.
Here are some of the things we’ve done so far to raise Baby D the Montessori way:
-No television except once a week for about 2 hours (we watch a movie in bed on Sunday mornings…yum). She also usually falls asleep at some point. We’ve noticed that since we eliminated TV from our lives Baby D is less interested in it when it is on (usually when we’re visiting friends or family) and our time together feels a lot richer- love it, benefits for baby and for mom and dad, too!
-No strap in contraptions except for the car seat, the bumbo (mainly used in the kitchen and never for more than 15 minutes…we also are always talking and interacting with her, we never leave her alone in it) and we have a bouncer seat that we use if we’re going to take a shower and she won’t sleep or no one’s around to watch her (we don’t use our monitor anymore and she’s in a phase where she doesn’t like to be left alone, but on the bright side we don’t ever actually turn on the bouncing/vibrating function so she just hangs out with a toy until we’re done). We’ll most likely donate or try to return those items that fall into the strap in contraption category we got at our shower.
-We have designated play areas in her nursery and our main living area with a mirror (the latter is controversial but she seems to like the mirror). We used one of those mats that’s made to line someone’s exercise room so it’s ok if she loses her balance and falls. The flooring also helps her learn to get around. Using a blanket was pointless because it would move with her and not really give her solid ground to navigate. Now at 6 months she can roll over and scoot around on her belly with the best of them!
-We talk to her constantly. I am speaking solely in Spanish to her in hopes she will be bilingual. I talk that poor child’s ear off! I describe everything in super duper detail. My husband is working on talking to her more in an adult voice (he’s good at the play voice and baby loves it so it’s been hard to break that habit)
-We talk to her in a normal adult tone. I do it at all times and J is working on it. He doesn’t do baby jibberish, he just sometimes changes the tone of his voice to super high pitched or deep, very cartoony. It’s so cute to watch but we are going to work on doing more adult tone at all times on his part.
-When I give her toys I give her space. My husband is more interactive with her but mainly for himself (he’s a big kid…love him). I will generally let her take the lead and step back. She doesn’t mind and seems to enjoy that more because she can discover more on her own.
I think that’s about it for now. We were pretty gung ho the first 3 months (I was on maternity leave and had more than enough time to do the research) but then we kinda slacked a bit. Now after the holiday whirlwind, we’re ready to get focused on really being serious about Montessori. I’ll post more Notes to Self on Montessori as we go along.