Building Independence and Saving Our Sanity the Montessori-ish Way

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Have you heard of the Montessori Method? Applying some of the key components to your routines can have a huge impact on how you parent!

As someone who learns best from doing things as opposed to reading about them, The Montessori Method has always appealed to me. When it comes to implementation, though, it’s a bit more time consuming than this working mother can handle. Not that it can’t be done, it’s just not for me.

 

However, I have taken some of the main points and applied them to our hectic lives creating a Montessori-ish method to the madness. Here are the three things that have helped us the most:

 

 

  1. Toys and Organization

The Montessori Method encourages the use of small quantities of wooden or metal toys that promote learning. As someone who loves the aesthetic and nostalgic feel of wooden toys and is constantly trying to cut down on the use of plastics in our home, I love this idea. However, I also know that my son loves things that make noise. So, we do mostly wooden toys but allow some plastic toys like Leapfrog or Vtech learning toys and Green Toys. Recently, we have also added in old household items like a keyboard, which he loves to use since he sees us using ours on most days at home.

The part I like the best about the Montessori toy principle is that you should only have a small quantity of toys out at a time, and you should rotate them to keep the child’s interest. Doing this has helped us immensely. Prior to Christmas this year, we got a jump start on the toys by scaling down the toys we had out for him and putting some away in the closet in his playroom. We also took the toys out of storage baskets and placed them on shelves and trays or in little stations in different rooms so that he could easily see and access them. We also have books in various rooms, so he always has some around, which he loves. By doing this, we found he played with the toys that were out more, seemed less overwhelmed by his toys, and it makes cleanup much quicker, as well as looking cleaner overall.

 

 

2. Kitchen Helper Stool

This was by far my favorite Christmas purchase! Since birth, our son has always wanted to be by people and be able to see what we are doing. The Kitchen Helper Stool lets him do that without me having to hold him. It’s also gotten him helping with the cooking and baking. However, at 15 months, that usually just includes dumping ingredients into bowls, adding cheese shreds to things, or cutting bananas for his toast, and then just banging the utensils and measuring cups on the counter. Still, it teaches him how to contribute to the family life and gives him the pride of independence, which is a main principle of Montessori learning. We also added a step stool in the laundry room so that he can put clothes in the washer and dump in the detergent to help out.

 

3. Stand Up Diaper Changes

My son used to squirm and scream every time we had to lay him down to change his diaper. It became dangerous on the changing table, and pinning him down on the floor to do it was awful, leading us to the Montessori method of standup diaper changes. Now we change him in the bathroom, which promotes the logic of that is where you go to get rid of pee and poop as well as familiarizing him with the potty, which should help down the line when we get to potty training. It also helps him be a part of the process. He gets out the diaper, cream, and wipes from the closet, sometimes helps with getting his pants off, watches the poop get flushed down the potty, and usually amuses himself with the toys in the bathtub or something else that grabs his attention. Hence, it’s not as much of a fight to get the diaper back on. He then helps put everything away and again gets the pride of independence and helping.

 

Our approach to Montessori is just another example of the best way to parent, which is taking concepts and adjusting them to your own style of parenting and what works for you!

 

Do you use Montessori methods in your home?

If so, share your favorites in the comments!

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Amber Marshall
Amber and her husband Justin, are navigating being first time parents in their late thirties, to their son Beckett (2019). When not baby wrangling, yelling don’t eat that or Googling how to deal with back pain, what is this rash, or is my baby teething, they are usually busy DIYing the renovations on their new home in the Metro East. In her work life, Amber works in event sales/event management full time. In the tiny amount of free time she has, you can find her perusing interior design blogs, researching clean beauty trends, exploring art fairs, antique stores, estate sales and creating her own adventures all over the city.

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