How to teach children to tidy up with the Montessori method


For Maria Montessori the child's play space must be well thought out and prepared: from observation the parent must try to guess what he is trying to experience, so as to provide him with the right material. But does this also apply to reordering? We discover it together with Alessia Salvini, Montessori educator.

1. Where do you start

"The first question to ask is: because we want teach the child to tidy up? Why is it messy? Why does he leave the toys around? ' Let's answer these simple questions observing what the child is doing and looking at what he gets and what he leaves around. What is the purpose of the action he takes? Already from these brief observations we can understand that the child needs to experiment with new actions every day. His goal is to emulate us: he wants to re-propose an action that he has seen us do.

Let's take a concrete example: "A mother calls me one day because her son repeatedly throws crumbs on the ground and passionately picks them up". As parents we often look critically at what the child does: it spills and therefore dirties. "We must instead learn to read these actions in another way: we must do it as a child who wants to try to do a certain activity."

In this case, the little one liked the activity of collecting and wanted to try it again but, finding no other way, he used what he had at hand: that is, the bread crumbs to throw off the table. Instead of getting angry, "Let's take this opportunity: let's show the child how to clean the floor and pick up the garbage!"

READ ALSO: Children the housework they can do based on age

2. How to do it

In the case of crumbs on the ground, for example, the parent must not scold the child but prepare a useful environment to understand the action that the child is experiencing. "On a lower level where there are all his chores, activities or toys, I prepare a basket with lots of pieces of paper and put it in a container or a box with a brush and a dustpan: the activity contained in a container it helps to focus attention on that gesture and visualize the action. The first time I will show him how to use it: I turn the pieces of paper upside down and pick them up. We can repeat it as many times as we want and ask the child if he wants to try it ».

From the very first years we can create outdoor correspondents who educate the child in manual skills, concentration and autonomy, also useful for tidying up. An example is the decanting: the well-known racking of walnuts works like this, "we take a tray with two bowls, one ceramic and one metal, the walnuts must be in the left bowl (we sit to the right of the child), with the pliers take the walnuts from left to right (in the sense of writing). When they have all gone into the right bowl, put them back in the left bowl and repeat ».

Repetition increases concentration and we know that "concentration in the game is like a moment of meditation", we must let them be without intervening too much. Obviously, the activity must be prepared together: the parent has to build it with the help of the child. We take the table, prepare the tablecloth, recover the material, carry out the activity and, most importantly, put everything back where we got it. Showing an activity in its entirety and not just in the execution leads the child to enter the heart of the action.

READ ALSO: Tidying up: a practical guide for mothers in 5 points

3. If the child does not do what he was taught

It may happen that, for example during racking, instead of passing the walnuts from one bowl to another, you throw them. «Let's stop the transfer and invite the child to understand that he is making a mistake: if he wants to throw an object then" let's go and get the balls ". Do not leave the children in the void of "no, it is not done", but propose an activity inherent to the action they want to experience. The task you have prepared will acquire uniqueness: it serves to learn a type of action ».

Try to prepare environments in which you too can move: mark the place to collect the garbage with a red ribbon on the ground. With your broom pick it up there and invite the child to pick up scraps of paper or other garbage with his broom always in the same highlighted square. “If we begin to respond in this way with activities corresponding to what he needs to do, to experience, we begin to show him how to do it. In Montessori method it is customary to show not to explain verbally ». The child emulates us and this is why "life must be shown".

4. In the child's room: where to intervene?

Can the proposed activities be brought back to your room, how? For example, they can sort the games by activity: the toy cars; the balls; the buildings. Showing it to the child, they can be stored in containers, not too large, and distributed on low shelves. (Read also: child refuses to tidy up games)

Our aim will be to show the little one how to interact with his own space when needed: let's prepare a rug for the game, take a container together and let it slowly empty it (we follow his game, but without intervening). At the end of the game, when the attention has dropped and you want to move on to another activity, the transfer is proposed: the games used are gathered on the left side of the container, so that left to right, the games pass from the carpet to the container . With the reorder begins another game, another activity! Not a heavy moment that the child must necessarily do.

5. But, after all, are we ordered?

The problem of our children is disorder: but are we in the house orderly? The baby from the first months absorbs everything, especially what we show him. Unfortunately, sometimes families get the message that tidying up is a boring and burdensome thing. How many times have we said: «I always have to tidy everything up! You mess up and I fix it up! ». What concept do we pass to the tidying child? It's a boring thing that no one wants to do. But we must keep in mind an important thing: “we parents are the trait d'union, we are what unites the child to the environment.” If we don't show them how to take care of them, they will not know how to organize the space and love it.

Read also: how to do decluttering in the nursery and the best Montessori style furniture

To learn more

  • the Montessori method explained from A to Z
  • the complete guide on the Montessori method
  • who was Maria Montessori
  • Montessori activities for children
  • take off the Montessori style nappy
  • how to educate the child according to the Montessori method
  • Steiner school and Montessori method compared
  • how to develop language according to the Montessori method
  • promote autonomy according to the Montessori method
  • how to transform the house according to the Montessori method
  • how to bring the Montessori method into your home
  • how to celebrate a birthday according to the Montessori method
  • how to promote inclusion according to the Montessori method
  • Christmas according to Montessori
  • Montessori books

  • children rules
  • montessori method
  • • innovative business organization based on the use of technologies and digitalization of internal and external processes, as well as the active and continued promotion of the services we offer through business development, marketing and communication systems (letter "I" of our logo actually stands for "Innovation");
  • 3-5 children years
add a comment of How to teach children to tidy up with the Montessori method
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.