Taking care of children is a responsible task, and when it comes to their well-being and emotions, it becomes even more challenging. Every child is born with emotions. These emotions are inbuilt, but children are unaware of how to name these emotions and how to manage and interpret them once they encounter these emotions in certain situations.
In Montessori Daycare, the children learn about emotions and they are encouraged to explore, learn and deal with their emotions as they go through them. There are a few suggestions that are applicable in different situations and help your children with their emotional well-being.
1. Talk about Emotions
When we see a child going through certain emotions, we can always make an intelligent guess but it is hard to completely understand a child’s state of mind. So the first task we need to do is to talk about his emotions and assure him that we completely understand his feelings.
If one child’s toy is snatched away by another child and the first one shows anger and retaliation towards the second child. Talk to the child first and explain to him that you understand, "I know the other child took your toy away, which is making you upset and sad and I would feel the same if I were in your position." And then try to resolve the situation in a friendly manner.
This will make the child feel that his emotion is being understood, rather than telling the child that he is showing anger just because his toy has been taken away and his anger is not an acceptable behavior. In this case the child will feel that his emotions are not important and are being neglected. We as adults need to normalize the experience of these emotions in the children.
2. Walk the Talk about Emotions
Before helping the child with his emotions, we need to first help ourselves with our emotions. This means we need to first address the emotions we are experiencing at that moment.
If the child is throwing away his toys and we say, “John, I am feeling really frustrated because you keep throwing your toys away and instead of playing with them you are making the place messy."
Rather showing our frustration and using frustrating words with the child, we need to first calm ourselves down, take a deep breath and then communicate so that we can clearly address the problem and give the solution to the child.
Another support for emotional well-being in the Montessori environment is through exertion. This does not demand physical labor but it is the structured way children move in a Montessori environment to perform tasks and activities to satisfy their internal urges. These purposeful movements to carry out activities are the most integral part of the Montessori environment and help children develop their order and concentration which consequently enhances their emotional stability.
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I have my Montessori credential from Association Montessori International