How to Motivate Your Child the Montessori Way

The Montessori method is all about intrinsic motivation, or the desire to engage in behavior that arises from within the child himself, as it is naturally satisfying to him. All children have this intrinsic motivation to learn and to explore. When it comes to motivating your child to cooperate with you, it’s important to tap into this intrinsic motivation, rather than resorting to punishments or external rewards.

By tapping into this intrinsic motivation, we are able to develop the child’s will and independence. On the other hand, if we oppose their free will, it can lead to more disobedience. One way to develop the child’s free will is to give them our respect. By showing our children respect, we can earn theirs, and by extension their cooperation.

How to earn your child’s respect

Be patient

One way to earn your child’s respect is to be patient with them. Sometimes if a child refuses to do something, we may get frustrated and lash out. This is not the ideal reaction because it will lose our child’s respect. It’s important for us to not rush our children or force them into doing the thing that we asked as this may clash with their free will or they may not be developmentally ready to take that task on their own.

Offer help and encouragement

When a child is unable to do something right away, it’s important for us to recognize this and offer them help and encouragement. For instance, if you are in a rush and tell your child to put on their jacket so you can leave, your child may refuse and say no.

To motivate your child in this situation, you can simply say “You’re saying no to putting on your jacket. We need to go to the grocery store now. Would you like me to help you put on your jacket or would you like to put it on by yourself?”

By offering her choices, you are showing your child that you respect her free will. Offering your help also shows your child that you are willing to work on things together and that will make them feel like it’s a team effort, rather than making them feel like they have to do everything by themselves.

Recognize that this is part of their development

One day your child may do the task you ask her to do with no problem, and the next day she may say no. Disobedience or refusing to cooperate is going to happen because it is a natural part of the child’s development. That’s why it’s so important for us to work with the child to develop her will during these formative years instead of trying to break it. After all, we want our children to be independent individuals who choose to behave well on their own accord.

Motivating students at Silverline

Our faculty at Silverline Montessori School has crafted a learning environment that taps into the child’s intrinsic motivation to learn. Our classrooms are designed to encourage independence, good behavior, concentration and coordination. As a result, our students begin to build character and confidence and improve their focus and attention.

How Montessori Preschools Build Your Child’s Self-Sufficiency and Independence

Dr. Maria Montessori often taught those around her to teach by this principle, “Help me to do it myself”. This can be achieved through the prepared environment where space is given to be independent and self-sufficient. During a time when kids have become even more reliant on their parents to do things for them (which sometimes even carries on into young adulthood), it becomes increasingly important that we teach our children self-sufficiency skills. One of the main goals of Montessori preschools is to raise a generation of independent and self-sufficient individuals.

This is important because success in life is almost always correlated to the degree in which people perceive themselves as independent. The way we achieve this independence and subsequent success is by starting at an early age. We prepare the environment to foster their best development. Then we observe and watch the child strive to be independent, grow, and learn. Hence, early childhood is the perfect time to start learning the skills that are necessary to be self-reliant and begin practicing them until the children can act on their own without help.

Care of Self

Learning how to take care of oneself is one of the biggest achievements that a child makes in the Montessori journey of becoming self-sufficient. In Montessori preschools, care of self is taught through practical life activities. Practical life exercises include learning basic skills needed on a daily basis. They are everyday life activities that a child learns to do in a purposeful way. The child learns about their own movements and learns how to refine their coordination. Some of these activities include dressing and undressing, which involves actions that sharpen fine motor skills, such as buttoning shirts and putting on shoes. Brushing teeth, combing hair, using the restroom, and preparing food are other practical life activities that a child may learn in a Montessori classroom.

Freedom of Choice

“Freedom of choice” comes from a well-prepared environment. This prepared environment is the key! The Montessori method has its roots in belief that each child is an individual that deserves to be respected. This is why children have freedom of choice in the classroom. In Montessori preschools, children are allowed to make their own decisions on what they work on. They are given the autonomy to choose to work on the lessons that interest them the most.


It is through independence that the birth of self-esteem begins. All opportunities around the children helps them build a better self-image leading to higher self-esteem. Unfortunately, children who become dependent on their parents or caregivers for everything, will eventually have lower self-esteem. On the bright side, however, one of the benefits of guiding children to become independent is that it raises their self-esteem.

Gaining a sense of self-reliance and independence also helps to develop a healthy self-image. When a child is shown how to do something, and then they are allowed to do it on their own, it boosts their self-esteem more than any amount of verbal praise ever will. The activities that the children complete teach them not only pride and a positive self-image but also perseverance.

Dr. Montessori on Self-Sufficiency and Independence:

Dr. Maria Montessori believed that every child was born with the natural capability of being an independent individual.

“Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence.” -Maria Montessori