Discipline in Montessori

Freedom is the power to act, speak, or think as one might want. Even the youngest of children know what is right for them. 

The Montessori Method provides your younger ones with freedom of choice to help them become confident, independent, as well as self-reliant. 

But, the freedom of choice comes with its distinct set of responsibilities. Children are able to thrive when they are provided with the right opportunities and controlled freedom.

Most individuals presume the Montessori method to be chaotic or unregulated due to the fact that it promotes children to indulge in auto-didactic education. 

But this is far from the truth, Montessori Method of education helps us distinguish the fine line between absolute freedom and discipline. 

The Montessori method of education is a revolutionary pedagogical tool that has transformed educational institutions across the globe. This unique educational method has helped us realize that discipline can be fostered in children apace with awareness and internal growth. 

According to ageofmontessori.org Liberty and discipline are categorized as two sides of the same coin, hence the Montessori Method sits right between the two extremes. 

Here is everything one should know about Discipline in Montessori to help develop discipline in their children the Montessori way. 

What is Positive Discipline?

The word discipline is mistakenly associated with the term punishment. But that is not true, the word discipline comes from the root word “disciple” which essentially means to teach or to learn. 

Positive discipline does not rely on punishments like threats, isolations, or consequences to keep children in order. 

The Montessori Method of education does not promote teachers to either reward or punish the students during the education process. 

Discipline in Montessori is about consistently teaching the pupil what they are required to do instead of taking away their freedom. 

The educator should illustrate and explain the natural consequences of specific actions in order to foster discipline in children. 

How to Foster Discipline in children the Montessori Way?

Though liberty and discipline are regarded as the opposite ends of the same coin, their juxtaposition is an integral aspect of the Montessori Method. 

Helping children develop inner positive discipline is both an art and a science. Montessori discipline is simple but combines a delicate balance between respect and freedom. 

The chief goal of Montessori Philosophy is not obedience but self-discipline. If you are interested in inculcating inner discipline in your child the Montessori way, here are some tips and tricks to follow:

Clear Language and instructions:

As parents, instructors, or teachers, it is best to guide your child with clear directions and set clear expectations. 

This will help the child understand exactly what they are supposed to do and notice a repetitive pattern of behaviors that provide them with favorable results. 

In order to effectively instill discipline in the child, one should not take away the child’s freedom as a consequence instead help the child understand the relationship between actions and opportunities. 

Hence, it is important to provide the child with clear instructions and information during the education process. 

No Rewards or Punishments:

Extrinsic forms of motivation like punishments, rewards, or bribes are the antithesis of Montessori principles

When you provide children with extrinsic forms of motivation you deprive the child of developing self-discipline, building their own moral compass, and managing their expectations. 

The Montessori method promotes auto-didactic education and intrinsic motivation to help facilitate education as well as promote the development of the inner discipline in children. 

Be Non-Reactive:

The best reaction during an emotional outburst is no reaction. When a child portrays disruptive behavior it is usually because they want you to react or pay attention to them. 

Hence, it is best to stay as calm and non-reactive as possible. Disassociating yourself when your child begins to portray both negative and positive behavior can help diffuse the situation. 

When faced with a difficult situation it is best to stay calm, get to the child’s level, and explain what appropriate behavior looks like. 

Do not punish the child, instead, tell them the repercussions of aggression and how it can hurt others. 

Staying calm helps diffuse the aggression and explaining the natural consequences can help redirect the child’s attention to another task. 

Respectful Language:

Concise and respectful language will facilitate setting boundaries and expectations as well as promote the child to act with desirable results. 

Respectful language makes the child feel like we value them, support them, we are there for them as their care providers, and it is our job to keep them safe. 

Children respond better to concise and succinct instructions, repeatedly saying no or shouting in order to solve issues can hinder the chances of developing inner discipline. 

Freedom with Limited choices:

According to the Montessori method, children should be given the freedom to conduct auto-didactic education and indulge in hands-on learning. 

But this does not mean that you give your child absolute liberty to create havoc. You might have heard the phrase “freedom with limits”. 

When inculcating values of self-discipline it is best to provide your child with the freedom to make choices but with limited options. 

Freedom with limited options can help the child explore new possibilities and build their confidence in a safe as well as provide the child with a regulated environment

Help the child consider natural consequences:

When the child facing a difficult time adjusting to their surroundings it is best to help the child actively comprehend the natural outcomes and consequences. 

It is important to understand that when the child is hungry, agitated, overwhelmed, tired, or sleep-deprived they will be unable to reason effectively. During these cases, it is best to bring up the said situation sometime later. 

Calmly explaining natural consequences to the child can help the child understand their actions as well as build motivation to work towards their actions. 

Validate the child’s Emotions:

Being a child means, you will make inevitable mistakes and become caught up in acts that might not be permissible. 

Children go through a range of developing emotions that can be hard for them to cope with. 

During these times, as a parent, educator, or immediate caregiver it is best to deal with the child by acknowledging their feelings and emotions. 

Give the child enough time to recuperate or calm down and later discuss their emotions or their actions when they cool down. 

Assist the child to make amends:

Children learn how to take responsibility when things go wrong from a young age. 

As parents, educators, or caregivers it is best to help model or assist the child with learning how to make amends, take responsibilities, and resolve issues. 

Assist the child when faced with difficulties:

When the child is experiencing difficulties controlling their emotions, it is your responsibility to guide the child through them. 

During a meltdown, you should assist your child by rationalizing their emotions, helping them calm down, and most importantly being patient. 

This process can take a long time but it is best to stay calm and collected. Once the child is fully sound it is best to help the child make amends. 

Find ways to solve issues with your child:

Instead of punishing, scolding, rewarding, or bribing the child, it is best to work towards the problem alongside the child. 

When working towards a combined goal the child begins to feel like they are an active as well as a contributing aspect of the family. 

Why Foster Discipline the Montessori Way?

Montessori Method of Education believes in fostering positive discipline in children. Parents, educators, and caregivers pose as mere helpers that help bring out principles of discipline from within in children.

While most traditional educational institutions and parenting approaches use authority or intimidation as a method to discipline the child, The Montessori Method of education takes a more liberal approach.

Montessori parents, educators, and caregivers are guided to treat the child with mutual respect as well as validate their emotions.

Montessori Discipline promotes children to explore their surrounding environment and new possibilities with controlled freedom. The Montessori method of education allows the child to experience natural consequences.