What is Montessori-style parenting? Does it make life with toddlers easier?
Parenting toddlers is joyful and fulfilling, but it’s also exhausting! Monti Kids team member, Montessori educator, and mom of three, Stacy, shared 5 useful tips on positive parenting techniques to eliminate some of the challenges of raising a toddler. Here are some simple ways to adjust your home environment to diminish toddler tantrums and empower your little one to be more independent. Our little ones can impress and surprise us when given the right environment.
Montessori parenting, room-by-room
1. The Entryway Makeover
The simple addition of a few hooks and baskets goes a long way to support your little one’s independence while getting in and out of the house – an infamous battleground for parents. Once your little one is a confident walker, collaborate with her to put on and remove her coat, and show her how to hang it on the hook. If her jacket doesn’t have a loop, you can add one using a piece of yarn or a book ring through the tag. Offer help taking off her shoes and hat and show her which basket to put them in. Remember to only offer 2-3 choices of each item of clothing so that she isn’t overwhelmed by the possibilities. Putting in the time and patience now to support her in this process will save you a lot of time and frustration later! She will become independent in this process from a young age – building confidence and reducing tantrums on the way out the door.
Not at this stage yet? Read our tips on setting up a useable playspace for baby.
2. The Montessori Toddler Bathroom
When your little one is ready to begin Toilet Learning, set aside a small corner of the bathroom that’s just for him. Start with a low shelf that has a small selection of dry underpants, diapers (for sleeping), wipes, and even a few books (for longer visits). This will encourage your child to gradually learn to accomplish the activity independently. You may want to add a small rug for him to sit on, rather than the cool tile floor, when he needs to change. This space of his own gives him a sense of ownership and pride in the process. When he has easy access to all the supplies needed, he will quickly learn how to use them correctly.
3. The Family Room
Give your little one a small area in your family’s main space that will allow her to play and explore while in the presence of her favorite person – you! A small shelf with 6-8 toys, several baskets of objects like utensils or wooden farm animals, a basket of books, and a small table and chair will suffice. Anything more might be overstimulating. Rotate the toys and books regularly to keep her interested and make it easy for her (and you) to maintain!
Related: Where to buy a Montessori toy shelf
4. The Kitchen
Find a space in the kitchen for your little one to access his own dishes and silverware. Once he is a confident walker, he will be able to retrieve a cup when he is thirsty or a plate when he is hungry. This will evolve into setting the table for himself (and maybe even his siblings). He might even begin to help empty the dishwasher eventually! This space can be as simple as a lower drawer or cabinet with a few cups, plates, and pieces of silverware for him. You can also try reserving a lower shelf in the refrigerator or in cabinets for snacks (make sure you approve of everything in there). Access to these mealtime supplies will make this process more peaceful by giving him a sense of independence and control. Pictured above are supplies for three children; scale accordingly for one child.
5. The Bedroom
At this age it is most important to establish the bedroom as a place for sleeping. To encourage sleep, keep limited toys in the bedroom – those that are cozy and quiet like stuffed animals and an assortment of books. Watch for times that your little one is distracted by a stimulating toy and remove it from her room (you can even add it to her shelf in the living room). Providing an environment that promotes sleep will allow her to get the rest she needs, and in turn will give you a happier and more cooperative little person in your family!
Her bedroom will also be the place for getting dressed. Between 12 and 15 months, you can begin to offer a few choices of clothing in her lowest dresser drawer (with the bulk of her clothes stored out of reach). Replenish these as needed and allow her to choose what she would like to wear from this drawer each day. She will be empowered by this choice and excited to take part in dressing for the day if she knows she has a say in the matter. When she is done getting dressed (with your help in the beginning), she can put her dirty clothes into her very own hamper.