Peace Education: 5 Practices To Raising A More Peaceful Child
Montessori was centuries ahead of the curve on this idea. “Peace on earth” was not an outcome of politics and political connections in her view but of a society’s treatment and regard for the youngest and most innocent members - its children. She remarked that,
“ Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.”
But, if peace is a top priority for most people, why does it feel elusive and how can we be more proactive in achieving peace in ourselves, our environment and our society at large?
Let’s get a start today with the following:
5 Practices to Raising a More Peaceful Child
First, we here at Must Be Montessori believe that we cannot model or share with our kids what we do not already have or practice.
Understand Yourself and the Ways You Achieve Inner Peace
Many moments when we cannot find peace stem from feeling out of control or wanting to control something that is not ours to control. So... Get a notebook or make a mental list. List the times that you feel frustrated, stressed, angry or “peaced out.” What are the environmental factors, kid behaviors, life issues that push you away from inner peace? Next, write down or think over how you bring yourself back toward peace. Your list might include breath work, solitude, a walk, reducing clutter, having a conversation about negative behaviors, getting help from a friend or confidant, etc.
The main point is, we need to help ourselves before trying to help our children with this idea.
Model Your Process for Your Child
You see your child getting frustrated with her friend, with not getting her way, with not understanding a situation or academic work. If peace feels freeing, stress and frustration feel weighty. To you, to your child, to those around you. Practice the Must Be Montessori SCALE method to release the weight of the stress and work back toward the ease of peace.
Stop, assess the situation before reacting
Calm, your mind and autonomic response: visualize breathing with ball
Ask, be curious about her (others)
Listen, to her (others) and try to understand her (their) experience
Explain, your views and feelings
Set Up a Home Peace Area to Promote Peace Work
This can be as simple as a quiet nook or area under the staircase. The point is, designate a quiet, screen-free place where your child can retreat when they notice that they are feeling overwhelmed, stressed or in need of peace. Pillows, a soft blanket, a dim light, a small water fountain for ambiance, a table and chair with zen work (more to follow), and a peace rose can be a great start. You can also ask your child what helps them feel peaceful and have them help you set up the peace area. In taking ownership, children will often embrace the idea and practice it more.
Choose a “Peace Rose” or Object
The Peace Rose is a symbol of peaceful, conflict resolution. It acts as the “talking pen” so to speak. The person holding it has the opportunity to explain his feelings or reasons for being upset. Once he gives the peace rose to the friend, parent or sibling, that individual has the chance to respond. It doesn’t have to be a peace rose, though we have found that boys and girls alike, enjoy the crocheted peace rose here. But this is another opportunity to allow your child to choose their own object and incorporate it into their peace area. And they can also change it from time to time to reflect their changing interests. Anything to encourage them to create peace in their own life!
Provide “Zen” Work in the Peace Area
This is an area where giving your child choices and allowing them to have control in their own life - a Montessori must! - is encouraged! But let’s describe “zen work” first.
It can be any material, exercise, work, activity, or object that brings delight and excitement and calm to your child.
Now it’s just up to you and your child to decide. If you have a budding gardener, you might include a small plant that he can water or wash the leaves. If you have a child who enjoys textures and tactile input, you might include a bowl of tumbled, smooth rocks or a basket of various fabric scraps cut into neat squares. If you have a visual learner, you might choose an oil-in-water bubbling toy or a book about their favorite animal. You get the idea. You know your child and will have some ideas about things that will bring them joy and will help them work toward inner peace on those days when the frustrations of life are wearing on them.
Incorporating these five practices above into your daily life is a great way to encourage peace in your child’s life and in our world as well. And in doing so, you will be demonstrating for your child how to listen to others, observe their interests and work with them for mutual benefit. I feel like the world could appreciate those skills right about now.
If you appreciate the free content and haven’t had a chance to visit our store yet, consider supporting us through a purchase. My favorite right now is the “Teach Peace” mug here. What better way to start the morning than with your favorite mug of tea or java and a daily reminder that when we “Teach Peace” our children will be “both a hope and promise of mankind.”