Toddlers are often misunderstood people. Many people think toddlers are hard. There aren’t many good examples of how to treat toddlers with love, patience, and support.
They start to walk, they start to look around, they are still learning how to communicate with words, and they don’t have a lot of self-control. In cafes and restaurants, they can’t stay still. They run when they see an open space, they have tantrums (often at inconvenient times and places), and they touch anything that looks interesting.
They’re called “the two evils.” People don’t pay attention. Everybody is still being thrown away by them. They won’t sleep, eat, or use the bathroom.
It didn’t feel right to try to get my kids to help me with threats, bribery, and time-outs when they were small, but it was hard to come up with other ways.
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I heard a radio question and answer session when my first child was very young. There were a lot of negative consequences to using time-outs as punishment, said the guest. It made the child angry with the adult instead of helping the child make up for their mistakes. In the radio interview, the guest didn’t tell the parents what to do instead. Since then, it’s been my job to find out what I want to do.
The first time I went to a Montessori school, I was a new parent. I was so excited! The setting was very well thought out and looked very good. The teachers were friendly and talked to our child in a respectful way (and us). We put our names on the school’s wait list and signed up for the parent-toddler programmes.
In these seminars, I learned a lot about the Montessori method and how to be a good parent to your child. When things are difficult, toddlers thrive. They want to be understood and soak up everything they see and hear like sponges. It dawned on me that I could easily connect with toddlers. I could see their point of view, and the way they learned was very interesting. In this classroom, I was lucky enough to be Ferne van Zyl’s assistant.
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In 2004, I finished my Montessori training with the Association Montessori Internationale. When our family moved from Sydney to Amsterdam, I was shocked to find that there were no Montessori parent-child sessions in our new city, and I couldn’t believe it. So I quickly set up my own school, Jacaranda Tree Montessori, where I help families see their toddlers in a new way and help them use the Montessori method in their homes.
So many kids and parents I’ve met over the years have taught me so much. As a Positive Discipline teacher, I’ve learned about Nonviolent Communication and how to use it. A lot of things are still going on in my life. I’m still reading books, articles, talking to teachers and parents and listening to radio shows and podcasts. Then, as my kids have grown up, I’ve learned a lot about myself from them.
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Let me show you what I’ve learned. I want to turn Montessori’s knowledge into simple words that anyone can understand and use in their own homes. When you buy this book, you start to learn how to interact with your toddler in a new way, whether or not your child goes to a Montessori school.
You will learn how to work together with your child, how to lead and help them, especially when they are having a hard time. You’ll learn how to organise your home so that you and your family can live in peace. To make a “yes” zone where your child can be free to play. You’ll also learn how to make Montessori activities at home that are good for young children.
This can’t be done in one day. You also aren’t trying to make a Montessori classroom at home. You can start small and work with what you already have, store some of your old toys so that you can rotate them, and start paying attention to your kids as they play. As you do this, you’ll start to incorporate more and more Montessori ideas into your home and daily life.
I want to show you that there is another, more pleasant way to interact with your child. To help you plant the seeds for a curious and responsible person. The goal is to build up a relationship with your child that will last for a long time. To put Dr. Montessori’s ideas into practise every day. It’s time for us to learn how to look at things through the eyes of our young child.