By Claudie Benjamin

In the rush of daily life, your toddler is not behaving in ways you’d like and/or expect? The situation may be driving you crazy. One ah-ha moment may be that it’s not your expectations a child needs to meet, according to educator Liz Lowy. She has long experience in the Montessori approach, having worked as a classroom teacher, Admissions Director, and Education Director at a number of UWS Montessori schools over the past 15 years. More specifically, according to Montessori philosophy, young children, even those who have not yet learned to read, are likely to cooperate when they take ownership of their own behaviors. It’s important that they find satisfaction in doing something well that also is acknowledged by a teacher, parent, or another caregiver they trust. “Trust is key,” says Lowy. 

About a year ago, Lowy took a break from her job at a neighborhood preschool to start Groove Parenting. The service focuses on customized coaching for parents and teachers interested in refining issues relating to early childhood development. Lowy found that the most challenging problems for parents relate to potty training and sleep.

Lowy says coaching a parent or teacher may take just a few virtual sessions. She and her husband have lived for over five years at The Admaston at 251 West 89 Street and more than a decade on the Upper West Side. It’s where they’re raising their three sons (ages 6, 10, and 12) and where Lowy started Groove Parenting.

Groove Parenting strategies are straightforward. But, maintaining a consistent approach at home is hard, requiring deliberate attention. Ultimately the approach is rewarding since it is intuitive and sets a foundation for gentle parenting in the future according to Lowy.

Lowy said that Interacting with a young child means being committed to listening to what a young person is expressing. What do they want? What are they resisting? The adult’s responsibility is to allow the child to express their point of view and then to jointly come up with a way that is comfortable for both parties. “This is hard when a child is crying, and the frustration level of both parent and child is rising. It helps when the adult is calm and neutral and supports the child as they work through the resistance, essentially modeling”—a lifetime lesson in communication.  

Getting the word out has been a big part of starting Groove. Over the past year, Lowy has been hosting in-school and virtual workshops for parents and teachers. Parents in her UWS neighborhood are also spreading the word about this very focused kind of coaching that embraces young children and their caregivers, offering gentle help that often seems beyond reach.

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