"Do not tell them how to do it. Show them how to do it and do not say a word. If you tell them, they will watch your lips move. If you show them, they will want to do it themselves." - Dr. Maria Montessori
While it was Dr. Montessori who said this, it was Montessori teacher, Maren Schmidt M. Ed, that coined the helpful acronym SHOW - to help parents and educators remember this concept.
Slow Hands, Omit Words
It’s a reminder use slow, purposeful movements when demonstrating something to your child and to do so with minimal language.
We do this so they can focus on our actions rather than our words.
Break It Down
In Montessori, new concepts are taught by breaking them into small, manageable steps. Hand washing, for example, has 7 steps.
SHOW allows the child to follow each step without distraction.
It also ensures that we, the adults, are mindful to include each step. Yes, even WE can get distracted by our voice.
With the hand-washing example, children are watching:
How you turn on the water tap
How you coordinate your hands to pump the soap
How your hands moving in opposite directions to create a lather
...And so on. There is so much for them to pay attention to.