How to Extend Montessori into Your Home
Montessori classrooms are designed to help children help themselves and there are lots of ways you can do this at home, too. It’s all about making spaces welcoming, accessible and safe for your child to use independently. Below are some tips to help you create a Montessori-style home.
1. Put your light switches on cords so that your child can turn on the light by herself. Doing this in the bathroom helps to speed up the toilet training process as most children don’t want to enter dark rooms alone. If they can turn the light on themselves, this helps them to be independent as they don’t need an adult to help them do it.
2. Keep step-stools in the kitchen and bathroom. Put one in front of the sink so they can help clean the dishes and wash things with you. Having a stool in front of the toilet with handles on the side will also help them to safely learn how to use the bathroom on their own.
3. Keep healthy snacks on a low shelf in the fridge and in a basket or in a low drawer in the cupboard. Encourage your child to eat well and to listen to her body when she’s hungry by keeping fresh fruit and vegetables in easy-to-reach locations.
4. Keep child-friendly cleaning supplies on a low shelf. That way, if your child makes a spill, she can easily clean it up own her own.
5. Only buy child-friendly clothing. Put fashion on the shelf for a couple of years and dress your children in elastic-waist track-pants. Zippers, buckles and buttons are too difficult for very young children to manage.
5. Have a designated container for children that they can use to collect dirty cutlery from the table after meals. Getting the whole family involved in dinner clean-up makes things so much faster and also gives children a sense of responsibility when it comes to keeping shared spaces clean.
6. Allow children to set the table, if they can reach.
7. Get them involved in house-related activities such as cleaning the house, watering the plants and tending the garden. Again, provide child-size tools and materials, such as brooms, shovels, gloves, buckets, etc.
8. When possible, give your child objects made from natural materials such as wood, glass, china, leather, straw, etc. Try to avoid plastic as much as possible.
9. Use the “one job at a time” rule. In the Montessori classroom children can take out one activity at a time and they must return it to its original place in the room before they can take out another one. Encouraging children to return objects to their proper spot instills tidy work/play habits.
10. Declutter. Too much stuff can overwhelm and cause stress for children. Keep out only a limited choice of toys for your child and store the rest. You can change them up periodically.