Theory & Practise

A beginners guide to a gentle, more holistic approach to child rearing

The choices we make for our young children lay the foundation for all that is to follow. Such choices deserve our deepest consideration.

Like any good foundation the foundation on which you base your parenting should be strong and supported by good, credible information.

Guiding principles, agreed by both parents which underpin daily decisions, provide security through consistency.

There is a maze of parenting information to be navigated and lots of people offer any number of quick fixes.

Instead of quick fixes I advocate a thoughtful, practical approach to parenting inspired by the philosophy of Maria Montessori. 

Montessori parenting seeks to take a gentle, respectful, holistic approach based on understanding the developmental needs of the child.

As well as a unifying theory having a Montessori-inspired approach is wonderfully practical, it builds resilience and when the principles are followed, results in greater harmony for parents and children alike.

Understanding your child's ever-changing needs and creating a home which supports parents and children alike is a constant work-in-progress. 

A set of guiding principles act as a compass to guide you on your journey.

(Little) Kids in the Kitchen

 Kids love working in the kitchen and for that to be successful it's important to prepare ahead. 

Here are four basic steps to lay the foundation for success.

  1. A learning tower in the kitchen to provide safe access to kitchen benches for easy involvement in the preparation of food.
  2. A step to allow access to the hand-basin. A hand-towel at the right height.
  3. Child safe kitchen utensils (lots available on the net) and a child sized chopping board, plus a clear designated place to work.
  4. A child sized table and chair or a Tripp Trapp chair (google it, they're fantastic) so the child can comfortably use the dining table.

Now you are ready to get started, be sure you choose tasks which are suitable for the developmental level of your child.

Enjoy your time together passing on your skills.

Making changes to be a better parent is not easy, but it's much easier with support.

Become an even better parent

The warm days of Summer are coming to an end and most of us are firmly back in our daily routines.

Often, during a break we get time to think about our lives and the changes we wish to make yet when the break is over and we once again face the day to day reality it's so easy to slip back into old patterns and we realise change isn't always easy.

Having a clear goal, a practical plan and appropriate ongoing support greatly increases the chances of success.

If you would like to make some changes, I can help you.

I have more than 30 years of experience working with young children and their families, experience assisting parents create and implement practical plans to achieve their parenting goals, helping good parents become even better. 

I can help you too.

Paulene Richardson

If you adjust your expectations, your children will be happier - and so will you.

Are you expecting too much from your child, or too little?

Do you expect them to adjust to (your) adult values and time scales?

It doesn't, and shouldn't, matter to your young child that their parent will be late for work or if spilling juice will ‘ruin’ the carpet, the child is driven by their innate quest for independence, to put their shoes on themselves and to pour their own drink.

From birth the child is powered by their internal timetable, each step along the way a step toward the goal of independence and self direction. 

Your child is absolutely desperate to do things for themselves almost as soon as they grasp the idea of what it is that needs doing.

As adults it's our job to create an environment where the child can, wherever possible, succeed in their ever-growing quest for independence.

"Help me to do it myself" is the plea of the small child and is a phrase often used by Montessorians as a short-hand way to describe the Montessori approach to child rearing/education.

Parents can use this approach to meet the developmental needs of their child.

look around the home and find ways to create a pathway toward independence the child craves, what can parents do to make this easier?

As the young child starts to want to do things themselves there are changes you can easily make, simple things like: 

  1. Open shelves at child height with activities categorised and organised with all components needed. These activities are age appropriate.

  2. A sturdy child sized table and chair or a Tripp Trapp chair (google it, they're fantastic) so the child can use the dining table.

  3. A step to allow access to the hand-basin / toilet. A hand-towel at the right height.

  4. A learning tower in the kitchen to provide safe access to kitchen benches for easy involvement in the preparation of food.

  5. Child safe kitchen utensils and a child sized chopping board, plus a place to work.

  6. Practical storage so the child can access their clothing and shoes.

  7. Purchasing clothes and shoes which make it easy for the child to dress themselves and go to the toilet.

  8. Walk at a pace that allows the young child to explore their surroundings.

The more activities the young child can do by themselves (once they have been taught the skill) the happier the child will be and conversely, the parent too will be happier as there will be fewer battles.

What the child cannot do is understand or appreciate adult values and time frames - that's not their job, that's yours. 

Their job is to strive for independence and ever increasing control, so help them to do that and you'll all be much happier.