You must have observed that your child gets very much involved in whatever he does. He is literally possessed by doing same thing again and again and then you proudly tell everyone how your son is going to be pianist, famous painter, architect… And here we go,after 1 month you already forgot he was that awesome artist to be and he will for sure be cook now.. Oh yes, he is going to be very famous chef.
Everyone around us think how caring son we have. He gives food to people, he gives money to people, he gives everything to everyone. So generous 16 month old toddler 😛
But no, this is Sensitive Period for giving. He loves the process of giving – grabbing – stretching the arm – reaching and contacting the other person who gets happy. This process makes him satisfied and he will just give and give till this period is lasting.
Dear mum, Montessori named these ‘what-I-love-today-activities’ as Sensitive Periods.
What is Sensitive Period?
Sensitive Period is the block of time in child’s life. Child under the age of six goes through very specific periods of interest and becomes completely absorbed with some one particular activity or characteristic of the environment.
He just doesn’t bother about washing his hands even though yesterday he was complete freak for water based activities and in last one month you have surely seen more bathrooms in the world then in whole your life.
Sensitive periods have their meanings and it’s waste of time and energy to go against them and mold the child according to your convenience.
They disappear just as they arose. Once the Sensitive Period is over it will never come back in the same way. It can repeat again but with very less urge and interest as before. Child’s capacity was (or was not) filled up. He can still learn new skills but with much bigger difficulties. His brain doesn’t absorb the information, it has to learn and memorize it.
What is the child experiencing?
Just a pure joy. He is driven by internal motivation to learn and develop. Nature is the one who takes care of that and child can not fight it. His energy and dedication are extraordinary but terminate just abruptly as they began.
But I can’t hold him at the sink while washing the hands hundreds times a day…
Yes, often we can’t follow up with child. We either don’t have time, or can’t because of physical difficulties. But it’s easy. Just find some way how to allow him to do what his heart cries for. You can’t hold him? Put a small stool next to sink. You can’t cook with baby in one hand? Make your learning tower and keep it next to your work table. You can’t hold him while playing with switches? Find some lower positioned ones or make extensions with the switch in his height… It’s so easy we just have to find time to think about it.
How to understand my child is going through Sensitive Period?
* child completely melts into activity he is doing
* he is repeating the task over and over without tiring because of his own will
* he is focused
* child possesses tremendous effort towards the task
What extra to do as a mother to support the Sensitive Period?
All we have to do is to follow nature’s plan for the child’s self-formation. We can not determine at what age a particular challenge is best dealt with – such as toilet learning, for example. There are optimal moments for mastering each skill and we have to cooperate with the energies of childhood.
You can also introduce other activities that support the emergence of the skill.
Here are only few examples of the Sensitive Periods.