For adults, feeling scared or afraid is a normal part of human development. However, for children, it can be more difficult to manage their feelings and emotions, especially when something terrifies them. Therefore, it is important for parents to know how to support their child without scolding them and by applying Maria Montessori’s techniques.

As we know, educator Maria Montessori designed a teaching technique where children are free to learn at their own pace and use their own skills to solve problems. However, the Montessori method can also be applied in everyday activities, such as learning to eat with utensils, going to the bathroom, and even coping with fears. For this reason, we will present the advantages of using the Montessori method to support your children during a fear crisis. At Central Montessori Schools (CMS), we have experts who can guide children in making decisions and fostering their independence so they can overcome their fears and frustrations in a controlled and autonomous environment.

How to Use the Montessori Method for Children’s Fears

One of the most important points to consider is that the Montessori method respects children’s feelings. It is common for adults to react with negative comments when a child throws a tantrum or expresses their emotions. This is because, for adults, feelings such as sadness or fear are easily resolved. For example, if a child says there is a monster under their bed, the parent will tell them they are exaggerating and that monsters do not exist. However, this response will lead the child to believe that expressing their emotions is not important because they will not be believed.

Therefore, Maria Montessori’s guidance indicates that parents should identify their children’s emotions and connect with them empathetically. To achieve this, they can do the following:

Use Active Listening: One of the skills that are very important for children’s development is active listening. Therefore, the parent should apply this technique to identify the child’s needs, in this case, to know what is causing their fear. Although it may seem absurd to adults, it is important for children to see that they are being listened to in even the smallest details, so they feel confident sharing without holding onto their fear.

Do Not Minimize Feelings: Once we understand the reason for their fear, it is important for children to see that we understand them and are trying to help them comprehend what is happening. It is crucial not to use disparaging words or minimize their emotions, as this will make them feel worse. Additionally, you can help them check the places that scare them to show they are safe.

Use Breathing Techniques: One of the elements most used in the Montessori method to help a child focus during a moment of frustration is breathing. Therefore, when your child is very scared, you can apply breathing techniques to calm them down. In this case, practice deep breathing first to activate concentration. You can also relax the muscles and count from 1 to 10 to calm down.

Gradually Expose Them to the Object of Fear: If the child is afraid of a particular object, you should work with them and gradually expose them to what scares them. For example, if they are afraid of something under their bed, you can check together if there are clothes or toys that are bothering them. However, remember to respect the child’s development, so do not push them if they are still scared. Instead, wait for them to approach the issue on their own to overcome their fears.

Encourage Independence: The Montessori method fosters children’s independence to help them make their own decisions. Therefore, you can talk to your child about what they would like to do about what scares them so they can make a decision without feeling alone.

Lead by Example: Children, regardless of their age, always learn by imitation. In this case, you can pretend to be afraid and allow your child to approach you to try to calm you down. At this moment, apply the breathing techniques and decision-making so your child sees that you do it too. This way, when they are scared, they will remember that fear is normal for both children and adults.

Seek Professional Help: Finally, if you notice that the advice for helping your child overcome their fears respectfully is not working, you can turn to a professional to help them face their fears. However, look for experts specialized in the Montessori method so that the sessions continue to respect your child’s autonomy.

In conclusion, the Montessori method can be very useful for accompanying a child and helping them overcome their fears. To do this, it is important to respect your child’s process and help them identify what scares them. Additionally, breathing techniques are good for trying to calm them if they are very scared. Then, ask them to tell you what they are afraid of to see if you can remove that element from their room. You can even pretend to be scared so they can help calm you down. This way, they will learn that fear is part of being human, but there is always a solution. Remember that if the situation worsens, it is best to seek an expert to help your child overcome their trauma or fear.

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