We’re always watching our children but do we truly observe them as they are? Do you observe without judgement or are you always thinking about what they should or shouldn’t be doing at that moment in time? Are you often thinking about what you need to get done rather than focusing on what you are doing with your child right now? Do you watch your child and think am I doing enough or am I doing too much?
I’ve been there and as a parent I think we’re always taught to be vigilant and there are lots of expectations on us about how a child should be. On my Montessori journey, I’ve started to unlearn some of these behaviours and focus more on just observing. I’ll admit when I first started with Montessori, I dismissed the idea of having a journal and writing down what I see Havvie doing as I’m no scientist. Having recently started this practice though, I can see why this is so fundamental to truly understanding your child and their development pathway.
Here are some tips you can use to observe your child:
- Set aside some time everyday to observe. With our busy lives it can be easy to put this on the bottom of our priority list. It doesn’t have to be long, just 15 minutes can be enough.
- Have your materials such as a pen and a notebook ready. I’m not very fond of writing so it was important for me to have materials such as a beautiful notebook and effortless pen ready to make writing less of a chore and more of a joy.
- Choose a spot to observe from where you’ll not be disturbing your child’s work. It’s important to observe your child when they’re concentrating. Of course if the child wants to engage you, there’s no reason not to.
- Its important to observe not just what your child is doing but how they’re doing it. These are the observations that’ll help you understand where they are at with their development and give you a clue as to what will support their needs at this time. You will get better at this as you practice more.
- Have rest periods from writing your observations. You will go through phases of writing a lot about what you’ve observed on one day to taking a break from taking notes completely on another day. These breaks will help you with refocusing and concentrating on what you’re seeing.