5 Ways to Follow the Child

Follow the child.

It’s a beautiful, perfect, profound, and frequently used Montessori mantra. Our entire educational approach is built upon those three words. They are backed by science, proven by generations of children, and consistently revered by families around the world.

It seems so simple, but the truth is, everyday life can make them seem so challenging.

Today we break it down into five real, manageable ways to “follow the child” in your life.

1. Stop, look, and listen.

Observation is where everything begins. It seems so obvious, but it’s hard. Balancing parenting with the rest of our lives means we are often rushing around, doing our best, and feeling stressed from time to time.

This is not always possible or realistic but we’re going to say it anyway: find the time to slow down, stand back, watch your child, notice what they’re doing, and really listen to what they’re saying. Not just for 30 seconds, but really take some time to observe them from a distance. You may be paying close attention, but the best way to gain insight is to watch quietly until they forget you’re even there.

You will likely be amazed by what you learn.

There’s no need to even draw any concrete conclusions from what you notice; just paying attention and learning more about who your child is at this moment in time will give you amazing insight. It will inform your own parenting in ways you may not expect.

2. Make the time.