How To Create A Montessori Home For A Toddler

Montessori Educator Christina Clemer shares five simple tips for creating a Montessori-friendly set up at home for your toddler

Child practising Montessori at home

The Montessori way doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. There are so many little things you can do to help empower your child with the independence and self-confidence that Montessori offers.

When it comes to toddlers, the Montessori philosophy is all about enabling the child to do things for himself, recognizing his developing capabilities and offering just enough help for him to be successful.

 

5 Easy Ways to Use Montessori at Home

Here are five simple changes you can make to your home to set your toddler up for success.

  1. A low kitchen shelf

Many power struggles arise over things related to eating, toileting, and getting dressed.  Infusing a bit of choice and independence into these daily rituals can go a long way toward minimizing the tears.

In a Montessori classroom, all of the things a child needs for meal time are organized on a low shelf.  The child gets his own plate, cup, silverware, etc. and brings them to the table.  Children also help clear their plates, disposing of unwanted food, and helping to wash their dishes.

A great way to begin at home is to designate a low shelf or drawer in the kitchen for your child’s things. Include a few plates, bowls, and cups for her to choose from. Keep the extras in a separate spot so the amount of choice (and mess) isn’t overwhelming.

The Sprout Sous Chef Toddler Tower or the Franklin + Emily Learning Tower are pieces of furniture that your little helper will love as it’s easily to move around wherever help is needed. The tower steps are flat and easy to climb for little feet, and the tower has a tapered design for extra stability.

It’s a lot less likely that she’ll have a meltdown over the plate she’s using if she chose it herself!

Montessori Product Pick: Sprout Toddler Tower

 

With a smooth, non-VOC finish that easily wipes clean with a damp cloth, Sprout’s Sous-Chef Toddler Tower will have your little darling helping you tackle the day’s to-do list, and have fun doing it!

 

Sprout Sous Chef Toddler Tower

Sprout Sous Chef Toddler Tower

$160

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Franklin + Emily Toddler Tower

 

Franklin + Emily Learning Tower

Ships 4 weeks after placing order

$185

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  1. A Montessori Closet

Getting dressed can easily become a daily battle.

Try placing a small shelf or set of drawers in your child’s closet.  Keep it stocked with 2-3 shirts, 2-3 pairs of pants, etc. and let your child choose what to wear each day.

Offering choices gives your toddler a sense of autonomy and limiting the choices makes this a manageable task.

Montessori Product Pick: Babyletto Sprout Dresser

 

Mid-century modern, meets craftsman charm in the Babyletto’s Sprout 3-Drawer Changer Dresser. Versatile in design and function, this dresser seamlessly moves from the nursery to big kid room. When installing a dresser, it’s recommended that you anchor furniture to prevent serious injuries from tip-overs.

Babyletto Sprout Three-Drawer Dresser

$349

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  1. Every toy in its place

If you visit a Montessori toddler classroom, you may be struck by how orderly it is.  Unlike many traditional preschools or daycares, you will not find toys strewn about the room.  Everything has a designated spot on a low shelf within reach. It sometimes takes gentle reminders, but the children tend to put things away in the right spot when they’re finished working on something.

Remember, that toddlers have a strong desire for order and routine. They naturally want to be in an orderly environment, but if there are too many toys or they don’t understand where things go, they aren’t able to sort through everything to clean up.

Try putting some of the toys away and rotating what’s available to your child every month or so.  With fewer toys, it will be easier to designate an exact spot where each toy belongs. Model putting something away in the same spot each time for your child and he will likely begin to do the same.

Montessori Product Pick: Sprout Luce Shelf

 

Named after the Italian word for “light”, the Sprout Luce Shelf is designed to maximize a room’s natural light, providing the best possible visibility and access to the shelf’s items. This modular shelf can easily be reconfigured to suit your space and child’s evolving needs and interests.

Sprout Luce Shelf

Sprout Luce Shelf

$495

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  1. Things within reach

Montessori classrooms are furnished with small chairs, tables and shelves that are perfectly proportioned for children. Kids don’t need to ask an adult for what they need as they are empowered to get it for themselves.

Montessori classrooms are furnished with small chairs, tables and shelves that are perfectly proportioned for children. Kids don’t need to ask an adult for what they need as they are empowered to get it for themselves.

Unlike a classroom designed for children, your home will naturally include a lot of adult-sized furniture.  When you can, place your child’s toys and books on a low shelf where he can reach them.

Montessori Product Pick: Babyletto Tally Storage Bookshelf

 

The Babyletto Tally Storage Bookshelf lets your tot’s books and buddies take center stage.

Babyletto Tally Storage Bookshelf

$229

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For areas like the bathroom and kitchen, use step stools so that your toddler can independently reach the sink and other things that he needs.

One major way you can empower your toddler is with the Sprout Adjustable Montessori Weaning Chair & Table set.  The seat is adjustable so that it can grow with your tot and they can eat comfortably and independently.  

Montessori toddlers (and even older babies!) use a weaning table and chair in place of a high chair.  This way they can get up by themselves when they are finished. You might think this would lead to little tots wandering all around during mealtime, but they quickly learn the rules about sitting while eating if you are consistent.

Using a weaning chair and table also allows your child to get up and get a spoon or a napkin for themselves if they need one, as long as you keep them on a low shelf where they can reach.  This fosters so much independence!

There is of course value in eating family meals all together as well.  Some Montessori families give their child breakfast and snacks at the weaning table, but use a highchair for dinners so the family can eat all together with the child included.  Like everything on this list, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing!

Montessori Product Pick: Sprout Adjustable Montessori Weaning Chair & Table set

 

The uniquely designed chairs allow your child to sit with their feet flat on the ground, which is more comfortable and encourages good posture. The chair seat is adjustable and the chairs are sturdy yet lightweight, which makes this table and chair set perfect for not just eating, but for arts and crafts and imaginative play, too!

 

Sprout ADJUSTABLE MONTESSORI WEANING CHAIR & TABLE SET

Sprout Adjustable Montessori Weaning Chair & Table set

$240

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  1. Something to take care of

A big part of a toddler’s work in a Montessori classroom is care of self (things like wiping his own nose, washing his own hands, getting dressed by himself) and care of the environment (cleaning the classroom, watering the plants, feeding an animal).

Try letting your child choose a house plant to keep in his room.  Give him a small watering can and show him how to check if the plant needs water.

If you have a cat or dog, show your toddler how to fill its food bowl.

Try giving your child a bucket and a scrub brush and showing him how to scrub his outside toys.

These are a few of the many ways to let your child experience the independence and pride of caring for something.

These changes not only allow your toddler to be more independent but they also cut down on tantrums and the daily frustrations that toddlers face when they aren’t able to do things for themselves. An environment that allows toddlers to safely explore within limits and gain independence is a gift to your child and your family.

Montessori Product Pick: Gardenuity My First Garden

 

Exclusively available at The Tot, the My First Garden by Gardenuity has been designed to introduce the joys of growing to little ones. My First Garden comes with everything you need to plant, grow, and harvest fresh vegetables and herbs wherever you live.

Gardenuity My First Garden Kit

$98

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Continue exploring

  • The best Montessori Toys that grow with your child. These toys provide the right level of challenge and opportunity for creativity to keep children engaged for years.
  • Want to know more about Montessori education? The Tot investigates the child-centered educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Dr. Maria Montessori.