I shared a small post about this on Instagram but after receiving a few DMs, so I thought I would emphasize here.
In Montessori, we don’t praise children. We want the child to complete tasks because they feel their own sense of pride and, too often, praise can interrupt concentration.
Recognizing a finished task and noticing the hard work, concentration, problem-solving, etc is not praise–it’s acknowledgment. And common politeness, like saying, “thank you,” isn’t praise.
“But why would they want to do the task again?” There are natural rewards the child receives. For example, both E and V enjoy using the toilet for the natural rewards; carrying their potty and dumping it, flushing the toilet, returning the toilet, and washing their hands. These may not seem like rewards to you or I, but to the independent child, these are huge!
“How does the child know they did a good job if I don’t praise them?” Oh, they know it. Take a moment and just observe your child while they work on something that is challenging, but not too challenging that it’s frustrating. Watch as they master little steps. Do they look at you and smile? E was working on the lock box. I presented it earlier in the day, showing them putting the key in, turning it, opening the box, closing it, removing the key, and placing the work back on the tray. That’s a lot to take in all at once when it’s new material. So they work it step by step. E needed to learn to put the key in before she could turn it or open the box. So she worked at it for a long time. The moment she got that key in, she had the biggest smile. Trust me, praise isn’t necessary.
“I love telling my child ‘good job,’ why shouldn’t I?” First, never let me or someone else change what you think is best for your child. I’m going to layout information, you do with it what you like and remember: You’re a great parent! One, we don’t want our children to do things for the praise and they’ll come to expect it. They are no longer completing a task for their own satisfaction, but for that praise–and the world won’t always be providing that. So I don’t want to set my children up for something that isn’t guaranteed and is a driving force for them to succeed. I want them to do something because THEY want the end result of success.
Something that always comes to mind is that annoying coworker who needs praise. It can be part of their job description, but they still require constant praise in order to do it.
What tasks does your little one enjoy due to natural rewards?
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