“Teach by teaching, not correcting.”

— Maria Montessori

It’s hard not to bribe children when they won’t listen. “If you don’t put your toys away there will be no show.” “If you don’t finish eating dinner then there will be no treat.” We try these common phrases when it seems like nothing else will work but most of the time, it doesn’t!  Changing language to include more positive phrases can be really helpful when trying to get kiddos to do what we want them to do. Using clear, positive statements helps children understand what’s expected of them.

The Montessori method has some “tricks to the trade” that can be applied just as easily at home as in the classroom. We’ve been sharing regularly how you can incorporate things from our Grace and Courtesy curriculum as well as Practical Life into your home life, but boundary-setting is something that can carry over as well with great success.

what kinds of things can we work on saying?

One  example Davies gives is how we should remind children of house/ground rules. Instead of shouting “No fighting!” try saying, “I can’t let you hurt them. Use your words to tell them what you would like.”

We can also help children be responsible by giving them the tools and space to regulate their emotions. Instead of saying “If you do that again, I’ll…” or “Go to time out to think about what you have done!” Try saying, “You look upset. Would you like a cuddle?” or “Would you like to go to your calm place to calm down?”Positive language can really empower children as they learn how to regulate their own behavior. Giving them positive alternatives instead of always saying “no” will guide them in independently choosing a safer option.

It’s normal to feel frustrated at times and our words do not always come out the way we want them to. It’s ok to reset and try again! The more you practice the easier it will become to incorporate more positive language throughout the day. Using more positive language will help everyone communicate with clarity and respect.

this chart helps you choose the right words: