Yesterday’s challenge was a big one, and I know it was likely to stir up some emotions and guilt for some — believe me, I am at once defensive and challenged by my perpetual clutter. I’m working on it, and I’m so thankful to have others working on it alongside me.
Day 9: Slow down
Our children live in a fast paced world. Often a world where we have to rush from place to place. If you are anything like me, we leave too late and have to rush children to keep up with us. We don’t have a lot of extra time to slow down and show our children how to help themselves. We often have the thought “it’s quicker to just do it myself”, for example, to do up a child’s shoelace, or clear the table after breakfast.
Today let’s try to slow down for half an hour. Slow down your pace, and especially your movements. I am naturally a very speedy person so this is a good challenge for me too.
- Slow down to the child’s pace
- Provide a relaxing atmosphere
- Provide calm to the child and the environment
- Allow the child to absorb more—the child can view movements more clearly, there is less distraction, and less interference
- Avoids us rushing to step in too quickly to help
- Reduces noise in the environment
Some Tips for Slowing Down
- When dressing, first allow the child to try; then step in to show them when they need help with slow, precise movements
- Slow down when you show your child how to carry a basket or a tray – use two hands so they can have success themselves when they try
- Slowly move chairs using two hands
- When singing together, sing slowly and do the actions slowly too – this allows time for your child to process and perhaps join you singing or doing the actions
- If we ask our child to do something, like sitting down to eat, count to 10 in your head before repeating to allow time for the child to process your request
- If you talk while you are demonstrating something to a child under 3 years, they often find it difficult to work out whether to listen to you or watch you. Instead, I say “look” and then slow down my movements so they can try it themselves.
- Older children like us to go slower too. Try not to rush your children to get ready. Also allow some time for them to go slow for half an hour today (without screens :)).
I enjoyed the book “In Praise of Slow” by Carl Honoré. It’s not at all scientific, just one person’s attempt to try out different slow movements including “slow children”. I like the final chapter so make sure you get to the end!
Simone Davies loves putting Montessori into practice. She is a qualified 0-3 Montessori teacher through the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and mother of two children who attended Montessori preschool and primary school. She is from Australia and lives in the Netherlands where she runs a Montessori playgroup for babies, toddlers and preschoolers in Amsterdam. Visit her website here: www.jacarandatreemontessori.nl/blog