Happy Tiny Tuesday! How cute is the picture above? If you don’t know Abby personally, then know that this exemplifies her “cool girl” personality. Abby most definitely beats to her own drum and loves, loves, loves to make others laugh and be the center of attention. We took this picture a couple of days ago, and then this morning when we were walking to our car Abigail walked over to this same spot, turned to look at me, and said “cheeeeeeese.” I laughed so hard. Thank God for these sweet moments scattered amongst the hard ones, right?
tutu dress: old navy
If you were watching my instastories last week on instagram the you probably caught that we’re big fans of the Montessori method of education. Both of our girls attend a Montessori school 3 days a week and we could not be more happy, and neither could they frankly. We are big, big proponents of fostering a desire in our kids to learn and to be creative and Montessori style learning fosters just that!
If you are reading this and thinking what in the world is Montessori, then check out this fact sheet to get a quick understanding of how it differs from traditional schooling. For a very stripped down version, Montessori education focuses on incorporating all 5 senses into learning, kids learn at their own pace and choose their own activities within the class room to work on. To take from the fact sheet linked above, “learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning.” At school kids are not only learning math, reading, and language skills, but cultural, practical, environmental, and social skills.
At a Montessori meeting last week though, they talked a lot about incorporating Montessori concepts into your own and giving your children more independence. It really made me sit down and think through our day and sadly I realized how much I was doing for my girls. So, below I’m sharing 6 simple ways we’ve added Montessori concepts to our own and given our girls more independence and more room to grow. These concepts have been adapted from their school, books I’ve read, and just plain old trial and error.
6 ways to give your toddlers more independence:
- Making their bed: This is one of my favorites! For Emma Grace (3.5 years) she has a trundle bed and every morning before she starts her day or leaves for school she’s required to make her bed. This involves pulling her covers up and smoothing them out, and then arranging the pillows. We originally thought she’d arrange them like I did, but she had other plans! Every day she arranges the pillows in a new and different way or “design” as she calls it and gives her masterpiece a name like “jellybean” or “princess.” Let your little one be creative in all they do!
- Flower arranging: I love this tip and took this right from school. Every Sunday I buy a bouquet of flowers from the store and together Emma and I cut the stems down. Then, she has two vases to fill – one for our family table and one for the little table she sits at with Abigail. It’s such a simple way to incorporate your environment and give your children a creative outlet and a chance to take authority over their space.
- Setting the table: This one is such a good learning experience and super self-explanatory. Emma Grace sets her own table before every meal – plates, bowl, silverware, cup, and napkin. She’s also required to bring her dishes to the sink when she’s finished to complete the cycle. Abigail is a little to little to carry over a plate full of food without dropping it, so I hand her her silverware and sippy cup to put at her spot on the table. She also brings her dishes to me at the sink when she’s finished. Y’all, this not only gives your kids more independence but it frees up your chores, too!
- Hand washing: This is such an important one to do after using the toilet and eating, and it’s super simple! All you have to do to make your bathroom conducive to hand washing is add a stepping stool to your sink. If your little is too small to reach the sink even with a stool, then I would just get a bucket of warm water and set it on a low table for them to dip their hands in and wash!
- Pouring milk: This is another one we took from school. Every meal Emma Grace carries a tray with a pitcher on it over to her table. She is then required to pour the milk or water from it into her cup. This gives her independence, helps her not be wasteful in what she drinks, and helps with fine motor skills of pouring and not spilling.
- Make a kids’ shelf: This is one we adapted from school, too. We’ve cleared a shelf in our pantry for the girls that has their cups/plates/silverware, their snacks, and a tray with their pitcher. This way my girls don’t need me to hand them their table settings and gives them the independence to pick out their own snacks.