Parenting can be a challenging journey, especially when faced with difficult behaviors from our children. There are no perfect answers and Dr. Montessori would have recognized that what works for one child will not necessarily work for the next.  We can, however, rely on our knowledge of human development and typical child behavior to help guide us.

In the world of Montessori, we understand there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but we do have a framework that guides us in addressing these issues. As Montessorians, we tend to follow a hierarchy when we address issues with children.  We look at the environment, ourselves, and the child. By focusing on these, we can navigate challenges with patience, empathy, and understanding.

The Environment

Environment affects us all, and as adults we can carefully craft an environment that suits the needs of our children.  This is why Montessori guides meticulously create classrooms with a specific order and flow to them, and why they are constantly observing and analyzing what should remain the same and what should change. In a Montessori environment, we prioritize order, beauty, and simplicity. By creating a calm and inviting space, we can help children feel more secure and focused.

We feel confident in saying that most of the time, a change in the environment can change the behavior.  Below are a few examples:

  • Does your toddler enjoy dumping the contents of whatever they can find? While this is a very normal stage for them to go through, it can cause a lot of extra work for us as adults. One thing we can do is to limit options such as keeping baskets and boxes higher where your child cannot reach them and rotate materials on a regular basis to keep their interest going.
  • Have you noticed your three-year-old spilling their snack and frequently leaving crumbs behind? Think about leaving a small dustpan and brush in a space where the child can access it.  You will likely need to show them how to use it many times, but they will get it!  When they do, the joy they’ll feel from sweeping will be adorable.
  • Are mornings with your seven-year-old rushed and chaotic? Make a list and post it where they’ll see it (perhaps the bathroom mirror).  What do you expect the child to do independently in the morning?  The list may contain items such as brush teeth, get dressed, brush hair, eat breakfast, and so on.  Make sure everything they need to get ready is in one centralized space.  Have your child prepare as much as they can the night before to ease the pressure when they’re tired.  They can pack their own lunch and lay out their own clothes.
  • Is your teenager having a hard time focusing on their homework? Create a distraction-free zone.  Have a clutter-free desk in a quiet area of the house.  Make sure devices like cell phones are left to charge in a completely different area of the house.


This is perhaps the hardest part for many of us, but sometimes children’s undesirable behavior is tangled up in our own actions and/or perceptions.  Some questions you may want to ask yourself and reflect on when you feel frustrated include:

  • Is this behavior truly a problem?
  • Are my expectations appropriate for the child’s age and developmental stage?
  • How might my reactions be contributing to the behavior?
  • Am I well rested, fed, relaxed and fully able to work with my child without letting my own concerns, issues, worries, or problems be a factor?
  • Are my reactions based on my own experiences as a child?

We realize that these can be some pretty deep questions.  Our jobs as parents are hard enough and there’s no need to be judgmental, especially of ourselves, but reflection can be helpful.  We also know that it’s not always possible to deal with a child’s behavior while being completely stress-free, well-rested, etc., but it can be helpful to recognize when we might be playing a role in what is going on.

The Child

Sometimes there really is something going on within the child that needs to be addressed, and it can be a simpler explanation than we might expect!  Some possibilities to consider:

  • Is the child getting enough sleep?
  • Is the child hungry?
  • Is the child getting sick (coming down with a cold or the like)?
  • Is the child entering a growth spurt or new developmental phase?
  • Has there been a recent change in the child’s routine?
  • Are there changes occurring in the family?

Sometimes a child might be upset about one area of their life and behaviors manifest in a completely different way.  For example, an eight-year-old may be facing friendship challenges at school.  Instead of talking about the problem, they may unintentionally take their frustration out on the parents.  This is a common occurrence when a child has not fully understood why they’re upset, are unable to articulate the issue, and yet feel safe to be themselves fully at home.  Of course, we must set expectations that our children are to be kind but having this insight may help get to the root of many issues.

Regularly talking to our children, especially as they get older, can be very helpful in helping them navigate through the common (yet sometimes painful) experiences of growing up.  Many families find that bedtime tends to be when their children speak freely about what’s bothering them.  Even as your child gets older, set aside time in the evening to be together.  This can be time together reading, cuddling, or talking about the day.

Final Thoughts

Two last bits of advice that are perhaps the most important: do not expect perfection and having parents who share your values who you can talk to can be helpful. We know our children aren’t perfect, and neither are we.  Children will push boundaries and make mistakes—lots of them—and as parents we won’t always know the best way to handle things or have all the answers. Having other like-minded parents that you can vent to and celebrate with is so helpful.  Whether you meet up for coffee, chat on the phone, trade tips on Facebook, or sit on the sidelines together at soccer games, remember to reach out to others.  We’re all in this together.

As we navigate the ups and downs of parenting, let’s remember to approach challenging behaviors with patience, empathy, and a willingness to learn. By focusing on the environment, ourselves, and the child, we can create a supportive and nurturing atmosphere where our children—and us as parents—can thrive. Together, let’s embrace the Montessori approach to parenting and cultivate a harmonious relationship with our children.

Share This

Recent Articles From Our Blog

  • pearlily-montessori-transitioning-from-montessori-to-traditional-schools-3

Transitioning from Montessori to Traditional Schools

“How will my child adjust?” Whether a child is transitioning from a Montessori preschool or kindergarten to public first grade, or the transition takes place later, many parents find themselves asking this question. While children may differ from each other in terms of their response to changes and new environments, the short and simple answer is that Montessori children will more than do just fine.

  • pearlily-montessori-empowering-your-child-through-chores

Empowering Your Child Through Chores

In the Montessori philosophy, practical life activities play a crucial role in a child's development, fostering independence, responsibility, and a sense of purpose from an early age. While these activities are often a core part of the curriculum in Montessori schools, they can also be seamlessly integrated into daily life at home.

  • pearlily-montessori-pathway-to-discovery-with-montessori-materials

A Pathway to Discovery with Montessori Materials

If you’ve ever stepped inside a Montessori classroom, you'll notice immediately that it’s adorned with an array of enchanting objects that beckon young minds to explore, discover, and learn. These beautiful learning materials, carefully curated and designed by Dr. Maria Montessori herself, aren't just tools for teaching; they're gateways to a world of discovery and understanding.

  • pearlily-montessori-exploring-the-tens-board

Exploring the Montessori Tens Board

In the fascinating world of Montessori education, children embark on a journey of discovery and learning guided by principles of exploration, independence, and hands-on engagement. At the heart of this approach lies the prepared environment, and within this environment children encounter a wealth of materials and activities carefully chosen to support their development across various domains, including mathematics. One of these foundational math materials is the Montessori Tens Board.

  • pearlily-montessori-exploring-the-color-tablets

Exploring the Montessori Color Tablets

Step into the colorful world of Montessori education with us as we uncover the magic of the Montessori Color Tablets! Our blog this week takes you on a journey through one of the foundational materials in the Montessori Sensorial Curriculum, exploring what they are, why they're important, and how they play a vital role in your child's sensory development and educational journey.

Prepare your child for life.

Is your child a dreamer? A builder? A thinker? A storyteller? An explorer?

At Pearlily Montessori, we educate children 3-6 years old and support them in becoming independent, responsible students who love to learn. Learn more about:

Our Mission

The Prepared Environment

Our Early Childhood Program

To grasp the essence of a Montessori education, just step inside a classroom.

Explore Pearlily.

Please fill out this form to learn more about the school, tuition, or to schedule a visit. We will contact you at the first opportunity.