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Montessori discipline: Natural & logical consequences

It's important to first say that the word "discipline" comes from the latin word "disciplina" meaning to learn or to teach, it does NOT mean punishment. So bare in mind in a Montessori environment you will never see a child be "punished" However a form of discipline you will see is natural and logical consequences. There is a difference between the two.



Natural consequences are things in which we do not need enforce upon the child. Natural consequences happen, well.. naturally, within the environment. For example if a child drops a glass and it smashes, the natural consequence is the glass smashed so they can't use it anymore. It happened in response to something the child did and teaches a natural consequence of actions without any involvement from an adult.


Natural consequences are important, they teach a child what does and does not work, how nature responds, how some things break and smash while others bounce in this case. Where possible if a natural consequence has occurred, let them sit with in before stepping in to absorb what happened.




Logical consequences are that which are enforced by an adult. But they are not punishment, nor are they irrelevant. I'll use the same example of the broken glass, the glass broke that's the natural consequence, but the logical consequence is for the child to help clean it up to the best of their developmental ability.


A logical consequence must always be logical, relevant and fair to the child. For example if a child spills a drink, it is not fair or logical to take away dessert or screen time. It IS logical for them to wipe up the spill. That is discipline enough. The process of fixing what happened, is a logical consequence. Removing things that are not involved is not.


To give a personal, and recent example, was today at the park with Jax. Now it was an impromptu trip to a park we haven't been to in a while and we kind of rushed getting out so we had enough time to play and get back for nap time.


So we drove there, walked right up to about 10 feet away from the gate that leads to the sanded area we went there for, and he wets himself. Not on purpose, but it happened. Now he hasn't had accidents for a long time. And he's had next to no accidents outdoors ever. He's just always stayed dry outside. But not today, and today I happened to not have a clean pair of trousers in the bag.


The natural consequence was that his trousers were wet and uncomfortable. The logical consequence was that he had to wait for Daddy to go home and get him clean trousers before he could go and play in the sand because other children play there, it would stick to him because he's wet and it just didn't seem right even though I think he gladly would of.



So he waited, about 10 minutes, in wet trousers because there was no nearby facilities and it's obviously not appropriate for him to be half naked in public. He waited really well actually he didn't contest it, he understood it because it was logical for the situation and he kept himself amused waiting for his clean trousers.


Then he got changed and went into the sand area to play. No more was said about it. Natural and logical consequences already showed him it's best to not pee in his trousers, especially outdoors when we don't have clean trousers straight away! At least we didn't this time.


The reason natural and logical consequences are used are because, simply put, its respectful to the child. Montessori advocates for respecting the child.


When it comes to logical consequences it will ultimately depend on the child and situation in question but when it comes to you giving a logical consequence it should be...

Reasonable: It should be within the childs developmental capabilities, and not exceed what is fair.

Related: It should make sense and be related to the issue in hand, not come from other issues and areas.

Respectful: It should not put blame or shame onto the child, the child should still feel respected.

Reliable: It should not be different every time the same thing happens, or it becomes illogical for the child


It helps to have in mind at a neutral moment what your response will be when something happens that will require a logical consequence. That way you are not emotionally driven to give illogical consequences that make no sense to the child and provide no educational purpose. Be mindful to respond, not react.




I believe Montessori is for everybody, I want to help everyone bring a little more Montessori into their homes and lives.


Montessoraus mama. x








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