The other week when we had our meet the teacher night and a silent journey at Lennox’s Montessori school – we were given a list of things to do at home to help incorporate Montessori principles at home. A lot of them are common sense when you are exposed to what your child is doing at a Montessori school – but even without a child being in Montessori school – you can do these things at home to help your child’s development! I wanted to share some of these Montessori principles with you!
10 Ways to Incorporate Montessori at Home
1. Arrange the bathroom(s) for your child. A stool to reach the sink, their own towel / wash cloth, hair brush, toothbrush, laundry basket, soap, etc all at their height and within their reach. Let them do as much of their bathroom routine on their own as possible. This will help with potty training as well.
2. Put snacks and drinks at your kids level in the fridge and cabinets. See how I did this with Lennox’s snacks! Let them get their snack or drink on their own when they ask.
3. Encourage your child to make their own bed, dust, sweep the floor, feed the pets, help sort and fold laundry, etc. This teaches them to respect their belongings and room. Lennox is pretty good at sweeping, feeding the pets and folding laundry!
4. Set up a garden at home. Let them plant, weed, water, feed and rake their garden area. If you live somewhere when you can’t have a garden, try indoor or patio planters!
5. When you have the time to have a flexible and more time-consuming trip to the grocery store or farmers market, bring your child with you and allow them to walk the store with you rather than be in the cart. Explore the aisles, the produce. Have them help pick the items off the shelf, count the fruit. Teach them the names of exotic produce, let them gently examine each item and even let them pick out some new snacks or lunches.
6. When showing your child a new task, do the task yourself first, very carefully and meaningfully. Show them step by step and use the least amount of words as possible so they focus on what you are actually doing.
7. All your child to succeed on their own, but also fail on their own. Let them learn how to make good and bad decisions and the results of doing so. This will prepare the child for the hard decisions that life requires of them as they grow.
8. Make sure to set aside some time each day for one on one attention with the least number of distractions as possible. Bedtime routine and book reading is a great time to do this – as it will help them with their passion to read and learn how to read.
9. Give your child the time they need to do tasks on their own. If it’s getting dressed on their own in the morning, make sure to allow a lot of extra time in your morning routine as they won’t get dressed nearly as quickly as if you were dressing them! If you are going to let them clean up after breakfast, allow time for them to empty their plates and wash them in the sink (or put them in the dishwasher). Allow time for cleaning up any spills as well (they stop pretty quickly though!)
10. Allow your child to help with mealtime. Let them set the table, serve the food and/or clean up after dinner. Lennox will empty her plate into the trash and rinse them off in the sink on her own. Sometimes they won’t get things as clean as they need to, but it is teaching them how to take care of themselves and the skill will develop with time.
There are so many more things you can do at home but as you can see, it really is every day / practical life skills that you are working on at home. Also, don’t think that your child is too young to do a lot of this. Lennox was doing almost all of this at 17 months old when we started her in Montessori school. She was able to do it right away and loves to be able to. “I’ll do it all by myself” …. they are so proud of themselves!