septembre 1, 2020

Tip of September: The sensitive period of order

Have you ever observed strange, almost obsessive behaviors in your child? Like, does he align his toys perfectly? He began to align everything, classify in order of magnitude. Everything in its place, everything is well delimited and sorted?

Maria Montessori, in her book The secret of childhood states :

« one of the most important and most mysterious sensitive periods is that which makes the little child sensitive to order ».

Maria Montessori – The Secret of Childhood States

Why is he putting everything in order?

All these little behaviors allow him to build his inner order. To illustrate what I want to explain, I offer you a small exercise. I will ask you 3 questions:

If you played the game, you stimulated several areas of your brain. Even your eyes, when looking for the answer, will go to different areas of the brain! This is exactly what the child’s brain is doing. Order allows the child to understand the world around him. It is by physically experimenting with objects that the child will slowly categorize his environment and « put away » what he knows or does not know.

How to support the child during this period?

First of all, and without any hesitation, what will help the child a lot is if you let them take the time to sort. Even if it takes too long for you, your child is working on something very important.

I give you several small tips that will really be of great help to your child:

Why pay attention to this sensitive period ?

It may happen that the child’s inappropriate behavior is due to disobeying the order. It’s pretty amazing. Very often, we think the child is crying for no real reason, that he is still having a whim. Sometimes he just needs his order to be followed. I have noticed that this often happens when we change a habit, such as giving the meal before the bath, when it is usually the opposite, or putting his pants on before the socks, when the child is used to it being the other way around. 

These situations can lead to big crises that can however easily be spared the child by respecting the external order.

Freely translated from