Kids · Montessori · parenting

Follow the child.

After I last blogged about it, I thought I had solved the pickup problem. We had a wonderful pickup on Wednesday: I grabbed K’s hand and ran with her down the hall to the steps she usually climbs. I sang, “I can climb the mountain!” and bounded up the steps. She followed. We did a “we climbed the mountain!” dance. Then I challenged her to “ski” down, and she did. After that she was able to cooperate in getting her outdoor gear on and going to the car.

I tried the same thing on Thursday. FAIL. Oh, sure, she was happy to go “skiing” again, but after that she decided to roll on the floor, go to the bathroom to wash her hands (with too much soap), wander back into the classroom, and scream every time I tried to put on her boots. She ended up having a loud tantrum in the hallway as the other students walked past and helpfully bent down to whisper in my ear: “I think she doesn’t want to put her boots on.” Oh, gee. Thanks, captain obvious.

I eventually engaged her in some silliness that put an end to the crying, and got her to “bunny hop” into her boots and coat. Total time from my appearance at the door to us leaving together: forty-five minutes. It’s a good thing that N is a patient baby. he was lying on the floor in his snowsuit the entire time.

So what have I learned? For starters, I have a remarkably determined, willful child. These are fabulous attributes when you’re an adult, but not so great during childhood. Second, there will be good days and bad days, just as in every other part of life. And third, Maria Montessori was right when she said “follow the child.” If K wants to be silly and play, then being silly and playing her game is probably what will get us out of school the fastest, with our dignity and patience intact.

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