Freedom Within Limits

Over a century ago, Dr. Maria Montessori discovered (and modern neuroscience has validated) that children – especially young children – thrive within routine! At Heartwood, we have the freedom to establish and maintain a nearly identical routine day-to-day. Implementing a predictable daily schedule will allow your young child to cultivate a sense of peace in your household, as it reduces anxiety over the unknown “What’s Next?” question. We, as adults, are feeling this anxiety on a global scale: I anticipate bringing predictability into your home life may help you find a sense of peace and calm amidst the outer chaos as well.

With your child, create an illustrated poster outlining your new daily routine. You will notice your work schedule must shift as you work alongside your children at home. Before the blocks of “independent work” or “free play” time, communicate your expectations with your child: “It is time to work. I will work on _______________. What activity will you choose to do first?” There will also be times throughout the day when you need to set your work aside and be fully present with your child. This period of social isolation may very well define our younger generation: children may look back on this time as a period of great stress and anxiety, or they may reflect on this period as one that strengthened family bonds.

This is not magic. Anticipate interruptions and maybe even arguments as you settle into your new routine, but refer to the poster you’ve made together. After several days’ repetition, your child will internalize the routine you’ve set together and your days will begin to run more smoothly. Allow your child and your self to get absorbed in independent activity and allow yourselves to be pulled out of your work to be fully absorbed in one another’s presence.