Thursday, 8 December 2016

Some Simple (and Important) Ways A Two-Year-Old Can Contribute in a Montessori Household

If you have heard about the importance of allowing your child to participate in practical life and be a contributing member in your home, but have no idea where to start, I wanted to share some simple ways we have included our two-year-old with simple setups in our home.

It will not require you to go out and buy a bunch of things, but it will require you to slow down.

It will mean more messes.

And it will mean a happier, more independent, child.

In the Kitchen

Currently, Jerome is so happy to have the opportunity to cut anything.

Yesterday, he cut the pompom off Tharin's Christmas stocking. And then brought it to me, looking so guilty.

He has a bamboo knife, and a wavy cutter he is free to use whenever he wants. With these, he cuts his toast, bananas, noodles. A few times I have allowed him to use a paring knife and he has helped to prepare a salad, cut apple, or cheese.

He attempts to grate cheese, and uses the magic bullet with supervision.

When I am making a recipe he can help with, I will place the ingredients in dishes for him to dump and he loves stirring. He has also helped to stir things on the stove because we have a cooktop.

Pictured above is a solution I came up with recently for the lack of space we have for a larger work area in the kitchen. He has his kitchen stand which he uses most of the time, but if he needs more space, I lay our large cutting board across a drawer and it has been the perfect makeshift surface for him.

Tidying Up

Teaching your child to care for his environment and contribute to keeping in order, is a valuable lesson they should begin learning from a young age.

Jerome cleans up his toys, wipes up spills, and puts his chairs away. He helps empty the dishwasher by putting away the plastics and his dishes, and if he wants to, the utensils. Which means he places them haphazardly all over the drawer.

He loves to use the vacuum, and paper towel or Lysol wipes, and will follow me around if I am wiping surfaces down, copying me.

I often get him to carry the dustpan to the garbage now, because it is a great way for him to practice walking with care.

Meal Times

Meal times are an essential part of the social structure of any family, and a very important area for children to gain independence and practice valuable skills.

Jerome gets his own dish and carries it to the table, as I often serve breakfast and lunch from the counter. Sometimes for his cereal, I put the milk in a little pitcher and he will pour it in for himself.

He always has water available to get for himself, in his kitchen stand. However, for meals, I now fill his ceramic pitcher with water or milk, whichever he asks for, and he pours it, often with a bit of a spill which he wipes up himself.

Lately he has been asking for a knife with his meal, so I have been giving him a butter knife, and he insists on having a wash cloth to wipe his hands and face with during his meal.

Self care

Allowing your child to assist in self care from a young is one of the best ways you can teach them to respect and care for their own bodies.

Jerome brushes his teeth at least once a day, and loves to spit and rinse his toothbrush. I do not let him use the tube of toothpaste yet. He also loves to brush his hair, and mine. He is very particular about having a wash cloth beside him at meal times, as he likes to wipe his hands or spills.

Along with potty learning, he has access to clothing and is practicing dressing himself. He is particularly interested in taking his socks on and off.

These are some really simple ways we allow Jerome to contribute to the life of our home. I think this is where Montessori gets a bad rap, when people assume it takes a bunch of fancy materials and space.

At its core, Montessori is about respecting children and allowing them to be contributing members of their community. There are so many valuable experiences, that line up perfectly with the Montessori mentality, available for your children.

To read more about some simple ways to Montessorify your home read: My First Steps in Preparing Our Montessori Environment | The Simplest Way to Start Montessori | and Doing Montessori Justice Without All the Stuff

Thank you for reading, if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below. And have a great weekend.

God bless,
Olivia Fischer

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