05 Jan Parenting the Toddler’s Absorbent Mind
Child development knows no borders; no matter their culture or physical location, a child’s mind is ever-changing, requiring no direct teaching as it unconsciously absorbs the world around them.
In Montessori education, we describe this early stage of childhood development as the absorbent mind, and parenting the absorbent mind has both its rewards and challenges.
What is the absorbent mind, and why does it matter? Meadow Montessori is here to teach parents the way to nurturing their child’s absorbent mind for a lifetime of learning and success. If you’d like to learn more about things we teach in the Montessori classroom, contact us today.
Let’s get started!
Why the Absorbent Mind Matters in Toddlerhood
By toddlerhood, a child has now entered a highly absorbent stage where they are unconsciously and consciously learning from their environment. From the family culture and native language to facial expressions and mannerisms, a toddler can quickly acclimate to their environment and behave like those around them.
The child’s environment and what they learn going forward will shape their mind, affect their cognitive abilities, as well as their social and emotional development.
There’s no shortage of ways families can create a stimulating environment. Next, we’ll explore the different approaches to parenting the toddler’s absorbent mind and creating a better absorbent environment, which can all work effectively on their own or in unison together.
A Daily Routine
Why is routine important for kids?
Routine establishes expectations early on and provides a sense of safety security in the child’s environment. A routine can also instill healthy lifestyle habits, reduce family stress, and create a more peaceful classroom and home environment.
The more stable the environment, the more the child can focus and absorb what’s happening around them. Eventually, as a child gets accustomed to their routine through repeated exposure, they’ll learn how to adapt and react in given situations. This is where the dynamics of your child’s routine comes into play with their absorbent mind.
Cognitive Development Activities
First things first: Create and follow through with a daily morning and nightly routine. Doing so will not only nurture their absorbent mind but set their body clocks (which means parents can enjoy more uninterrupted sleep.) A well-rested child is better able to absorb and learn throughout the day.
When your child wakes up, they can make their bed, pick out their clothes for the day, or brush their teeth. Before bed, your child can get into the habit of picking up the playroom, helping younger siblings get ready for bed, laying out their clothes the night before, or reading.
Establish chores your child can do daily, like feeding the family pet or accompanying you to the mailbox. Encourage your child to help you make breakfast or lunch.
Structured playtime is essential in Montessori education. It encourages the toddler’s absorbent mind to develop critical thinking skills. Here are some cognitive development activities you can integrate into your child’s playtime routine:
- Board games and puzzles
- Building blocks
- Dancing and singing
- Arts and crafts
Fill your child’s day with positive activities ‒ and be consistent! Don’t be surprised if your child reacts negatively if there is a disruption in their routine. This is not uncommon with children, whether they attend a Montessori education program or not.
Parenting the Toddler’s Mind in 2021
Did you know the CDC estimates that children between ages eight and ten spend up to an average of six hours in front of a screen every day?
This is far more than the recommended two hours per day. And if school-age children are spending this much time in front of screens, how much time are toddlers spending?
It’s recommended children between ages two and five spend no more than an hour in front of the screen every day. Why does this all matter to parenting the child’s absorbent mind?
The fewer distractions, the more a child can observe and participate. A child’s brain needs all of their senses open and active to engage with their environment and absorb what’s happening around them.
Given the trove of educational apps and programs available on TV, tablets, and the Internet, some screen time is stimulating and suitable. However, parents should moderate screen time, including the amount of time they spend on their own devices around their kids.
Having Fun & Being a Role Model
A child’s #1 teachers are their parents, and how we react to life, behave, and treat others can have lasting impacts on the toddler’s absorbent mind.
By being a role model for your child, you can demonstrate the behaviors you wish to instill in them.
Show your child that learning is fun. Get down on the ground with them and pique all of their senses. Laugh with them. Explore your child’s interests and let them take the lead from time to time.
Is Your Toddler Ready for Preschool?
As parents, we are very much in control of what we expose our children to. A routine filled with positive, cognitive-boosting activities creates a healthy environment where a child can learn and develop their absorbent mind. We don’t want to hinder our children’s growth with a negative or stressful environment. And we always want to be a role model for our children on how to behave and react.
There will come a time where parents have to decide when their toddler’s absorbent mind is ready for preschool. If you’re looking to enroll your toddler in preschool in Richmond, TX, or the Greater Houston area, Meadow Montessori invites you to contact us to learn more!