The day I read this Domain article I was immediately struck by the similarities between the KonMari method and Montessori principles and practises.
Montessori advocated for children to be surrounded by beauty.
The beauty of good, simple design in an attractive, ordered environment.
That doesn’t mean expensive.
Most of what you need is easily available in Op shops (Thrift, Goodwill) or on second-hand sites.
Dr. Montessori believed such an environment important for young children to fully experience inner peace and engagement.
We also know through an increasing body of research that children do better with fewer rather than more toys.
The best environment for our children:
With that information in mind how can we provide the best possible environment for our children in the important early years?
My favourite Montessori slogan is "Help me to do it myself" and as adults that's precisely our job, to help the child in their quest for independence.
We do this through the creation of an environment which supports their developing needs.
Sounds simple but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
The toddler years can be very testing parents.
Children are driven by their strong desire for independence to do things for themselves, by themselves and at their own pace, a pace which is not always practical or convenient!
When a toddler can’t satisfy these inner drives they become frustrated and distressed and the whole world will hear about it!
So what can be done and what does this have to do with decluttering?
Supporting the development of independence:
What we can do is support the child’s innate drive for independence through an ordered play-area and through organised age-appropriate tools and toys.
Let’s say, your child has (for example) a desire to do some drawing.
If your little one
knows where to find the crayons
and they’ve been taught how to use them (a whole other article. One one I cover in my Montessori Parenting - raising calm contented kids course)
knows where to find the paper, and
they have a place to work
they are freed from dependence on an adult and can do this themselves even when adults are busy with other tasks.
When a child is overwhelmed by clutter, can’t find what they need and are frustrated in their quest is it any wonder they can become cranky?
Life so much calmer and more enjoyable for the whole family when the parents and the child are partners on the child's journey to independence.
Physical changes really make a huge difference
Creating order in your child's play-area/bedroom and developing a streamlined, practical storage system is a great place to start, as an investment it will pay dividends.
I can only agree with the final paragraph in the Domain article:
"There’s a real sense of calm in an ordered home and it transmits to everyone living there (sounds woo-woo, but it’s true.)
Getting a professional in is always worth it!"
I'm a professional, an early childhood Montessori specialist, with decades of experience creating beautiful, practical spaces for pre-school children.
If you'd like some guidance and support to create calm beautiful order in your home contact me here, I'd love to help you.