In Montessori, we talk about teaching the whole child. This doesn’t just mean making sure the child has a well-rounded education that includes art, music, drama, etc; it also means we care greatly about the social/emotional education of our students.
As a teacher, it might be thought that I would know how to parent my own child, but it is amazing how often I have a hard time knowing what to say or how to react to my daughter. Part of this may be due to the fact that my child is currently a different age than I teach and part of this is most definitely due to the fact that I am more connected to my own child. I am triggered by her more easily, whether with anger and annoyance or with pain when she is suffering.
I love conferencing with my child’s teachers, as they always have good advice and insight into areas with which I am struggling. I am going to share with you some of the ideas that I got in at my last conference to help my own daughter’s social/emotional well being.
- You don’t have to always have the answer or fix something for your child. When my daughter comes home complaining about a classmate or talking about her feelings getting hurt, I want to protect her, fix it for her or help her fix it for herself. Sometimes though (or maybe most of the time), she just needs someone to listen to her and acknowledge her feelings. Also, there is not always going to be an adult there to fix it for her or protect her from it for most of her life, and she needs to learn how to take care of herself.
- You can set the tone for how to reflect on your day. We were finding our daughter was constantly complaining about things. We realized that we were setting a bad example by spending most of dinner time decompressing about our days in front of her. Now when we sit down to eat, we each share something we enjoyed that day or something we learned or something we appreciate. Our daughter loves it! She will remind us if we forget to do it, and she often wants to be the first one to share. And bonus, it’s not only good for her, but it’s good for us too.
- Get outside. My daughter’s teacher suggested we get outside with her as much as possible and she’s right. My students are so happy out on a hike or when we go to camp, but I forget to do these things with my own child. I just read a recent study in the Guardian that stated, “A two-hour dose of nature a week significantly boosts health and wellbeing.”
Written by Melissa McGuffin, guide in the Cypress Classroom. She has been with SCM since 2005 and works in our upper elementary program with 9 to 12 year olds.