"Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed."
- Maria Montessori
Children prefer to make choices so offer them! Just be sure that you agree with either outcome. If you want your child to wear a long sleeve shirt, show them two options and ask them to choose one. If they're struggling to get out the door, ask "do you want to hold my hand or your water?". If there's something you don't want to happen, don't offer it as a choice.
Your child is learning new skills every day. Jumping in and taking over without encouraging them to try for themselves first, only hinders this development. Just wait -- sit on your hands if you have to! Independence is key to being a functioning member of society.
Make sure your child knows you are there to help (after they try first!), nurture, and support him or her. Listen to their feelings, their ideas and concerns -- validate them and talk about them. Give them time to explain why they did something or said something without assuming they meant harm. Listen to their point of view and let them know you understand.
There's a misconception that Montessori parents shouldn't say "no" to their children. Of course, redirection is an option, and offering choices is a great way to maintain control while allowing your child to still feel good. But it's about freedom within limits and boundaries are just as important; especially when safety is involved. Hold your child accountable with natural consequences.
Montessori parents don't use time outs or punishments for negative behavior. Natural consequences are more realistic and in line with gentle parenting. If your child is too rough with an item and it might break, put the item away and say "we don't use it like that" -- that's a natural consequence. If your child tries to run in a parking lot, hold her hand and say "it's not safe to run here" -- that's a natural consequence.
When shopping for your child, purchase clothing and shoes that are practical. If your child is toilet training, loose fitting clothes are best. If your child doesn't tie their own shoes, then slip-on shoes are best. Simple items without lots of frills, or designs that are too distracting. It's impossible for them to be independent in dressing if they don't have the right gear to start.