You might have heard that less is more. But is it – really? Maria Montessori believed so. A Montessori learning environment is a controlled space with limited clutter that allows for clarity of thought and mastery of skills.
A Montessori lifestyle encourages us to slow down, plan less and pay more attention to one another and to the world around us. Less is more is also important when it comes to communicating with our children – listening is usually the best way to get our children to say more.
What if we applied the less is more philosophy to the way we give gifts over Christmas?
As parents it’s often our natural inclination to provide our children with every opportunity, every experience; to make all their wishes come true. Commercialism loves this and encourages us to spoil our children with an excess of presents. In a movement against ‘too much stuff’ and invasive marketing, many parents are adopting a new way of giving gifts – and it’s a list of 4 presents:
Gift 1: Something they want
Gift 2: Something they need
Gift 3: Something to wear
Gift 4: Something to read
(And if you feel like it, Gift 5: Something challenging – building a model or complex puzzle or Lego design)
Maria Montessori would love the thought and time it would take to choose each of these four or five gifts – how a parent would have to pay special attention to what their child enjoys, what she is good at and what makes her happy. This requires care and thought and listening.
Recent research published in Psychology Today (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/when-kids-call-the-shots/201511/3-good-reasons-not-give-kids-too-many-presents) suggests that too many gifts can increase destructive behaviour, lower self-esteem and rob children of lasting happiness. It’s important to understand the negatives but equally essential to focus on the positives – giving with a less is more attitude will encourage gratitude and generosity, also focusing on the relational element of the act of giving rather than the thing itself.
This article is inspired by thoughts from Geodesse.com