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Many Montessori benefits come from letting children explore in a self-directed way that prioritizes sensory exploration. For this reason, a Montessori self-care station is so important. Creating independence in everyday tasks is key to seeing these Montessori benefits in your toddler.

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Similiar to a self-help station a self-care station acts as a way for your toddler to gain independence by starting to take care of themselves. You can use this station in the bathroom or in their bedroom whichever suits your needs the most.

Here are some ways a self-care station can help:
  • Encouraging independence.
  • Adapting a routine.
  • Learn to wash hands.
  • Learning to brush teeth.
  • Grooming themselves.
  • Learn to dress themselves

When you are ready to create your toddler’s Montessori self-care station you will want to have certain items available to your child. While these items may differ from home to home these are the most basic self-care items your toddler will use.

Creating a Montessori Self-Care Station ACCESS TO HAIRBRUSH/COMB ACCESS TO TOOTHBRUSH AND TOOTHPASTE A MIRROR AT EYE LEVEL A STOOL TO REACH THE SINK IF NECESSARY

Your child is not expected to be able to use all these items without assistance. They will need your help until they have mastered each skill. Practicing and making this a part of your everyday routine will allow your child to become independent in self-care much quicker. They will gain a strong sense of pride from being able to complete these tasks on their own.

Instagram Inspiration!

Here are a few examples of beautiful self-care stations from Montessori parents on Instagram:

PHOTO CREDIT: Shannon Tredrea   www.instagram.com/shaneliseee/

PHOTO CREDIT:  www.instagram.com/akara88/

PHOTO CREDIT: Sabrina www.instagram.com/wunschkind_herzkind_nervkind/

If you would like to learn more about Montessori practical life skills check out 7 Ways To Practice Practical Life Skills In The Kitchen by clicking here.

Are you thinking about creating a Montessori self-care station? I would love to hear your ideas! Leave a comment in the section below and let me know what you are planning!

The post HOW TO CREATE A MONTESSORI SELF-CARE STATION appeared first on This Toddler Life.

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One of the most common questions a new Montessori parent asks is, how can I make my home more Montessori friendly? Most parents don’t realize they can make some minor adjustments to their homes to start incorporating more Montessori right away. In this post, I’m going to be showing you exactly how to create a Montessori prepared environment at home.

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5 Ways To Create A Montessori Prepared Environment At Home

MINIMALIST LIVING

Minimalist living and Montessori go hand in hand. The simpler the environment the better your child’s concentration is. Sensory overload is a common thing these days and needs to be taken into consideration when setting up your main living space. With too many options your child will be overwhelmed. It is best to stick with a few materials on display and rotate them out routinely to provide new work.

CHILD-SIZED FURNITURE

It is very important for children to feel that their home is theirs too. Often as adults, we don’t look at things from our child’s perspective. It is hard to learn independence when you NEED assistance to get into your chair or sit at the table. This is why child-sized furniture is so important. It allows your child to independently do tasks on their own. It also makes them feel including in the family having their own personal belongings.

WORKSPACE OF THEIR OWN

It can be hard to carve out an area just for your toddler if you are limited with space but the benefits are worth it. Your child will feel a sense of pride about their space, keeping it clean and ready for their next project. Having a space that is at their level will help your child feel more comfortable and able to concentrate on his or her work.

CREATE YES SPACES

While this is not a physical component of your main living space it is a good reminder that while your child is young and needs assistance you want to provide them with yes spaces. Give them access to as much as possible. If you have breakable items in their reach, move them. Allow them to explore their world around them by taking out any harmful items and replacing them with child-friendly items.

MONTESSORI FRIENDLY MATERIALS

Creating a Montessori prepared environment with new materials doesn’t have to be difficult. When you use educational programs such as Monti Kids the transition is easy! This program is designed to take the guesswork out of finding Montessori materials suitable for your toddler. Learn more about Monti Kids and how they can help you have a Montessori home by clicking here!

Instagram Inspiration!

Here are a few examples of beautifully prepared environments from Montessori parents on Instagram:

PHOTO CREDIT: Anna Angeles Patajo   www.instagram.com/annaangelesp/

PHOTO CREDIT: Anna Angeles Patajo   www.instagram.com/annaangelesp/

PHOTO CREDIT: Burusse Baby www.instagram.com/burussebaby/

PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah Joy Chisholm www.instagram.com/sarahjoychisholm/

PHOTO CREDIT:  www.instagram.com/akara88/

PHOTO CREDIT: Hollie www.instagram.com/afullflourishing/

PHOTO CREDIT: Shannon Tredrea   www.instagram.com/shaneliseee/

Have you been able to create a Montessori prepared environment at home? Let me know what works for your family in the comments below!

The post HOW TO CREATE A MONTESSORI PREPARED ENVIRONMENT AT HOME appeared first on This Toddler Life.

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Practical life skills are arguably one of the most important things for your toddler to be learning. These skills teach your child how to do things for themselves and grow into a self-sufficient adult. Creating independence and confidence through every skill they achieve, these life skills will stay with them for their entire life.

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Often parents overlook practical life skills naming them chores or activities that are only meant for adults. This is just not true. When we are cleaning, cooking and taking care of ourselves we should have our toddlers right alongside us, learning from every move we make. Today I’m going to be talking all about Montessori practical life activities. We are going to see just where you can be adding more Montessori activities into your day!

7 Ways To Practice Practical Life Skills In The Kitchen 1. Chopping

Your toddler will love using a wavy knife to chop pretty much anything! Bananas, lettuce, cucumbers, and apples are our toddler favorites. You’ll want to keep a close eye on your child at all times when using any tools in the kitchen.

2. Mixing

When you are cooking something bring your child up to your level and let them experience cooking for themselves. The easiest way to get them involved is by letting them mix whatever you are making.

3. Measuring

This can be done at all different skill levels. If your child is not yet capable of measuring precisely then perhaps you can explain to them what you are doing and then let them do the pouring and mixing.

4. Washing Dishes

This is a fan favorite at our house! Pull up your learning tower and let them have at it. A Tupperware bowl and a few spoons to wash are usually enough fun for this practical life activity. Don’t forget the water and bubbles of course!

5. Sweeping Floors

Using a child-sized broom your child will be able to mock how you sweep your floor. You can even let them sweep some bigger items into the pan and put it in the trash.

6. Mopping Floors

Using a mop, bucket and towel your toddler will love scrubbing the floor with you. Just be sure to show them how to dry it too or you will be slipping and sliding around the room!

7. Self Help Station

By far one of the best things we have added to our kitchen. Allowing your child to get their own snack and water creates independence almost immediately! You can read more about creating toddler independence here.

If you’re looking for more ways to incorporate Montessori into your home be sure to check out Monti Kids. This educational program takes the work out of finding the right age-appropriate materials for your toddler. You can learn more by click here. 

Have you tried any of these practical life activities? Let me know how it went in the comments below!

The post 7 WAYS TO PRACTICE PRACTICAL LIFE SKILLS IN THE KITCHEN appeared first on This Toddler Life.

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As parents, we have many choices when it comes to raising our children. We often overcomplicate these choices by thinking too much about the options. Children are naturally interested in learning about the world around them. By providing an environment that supports natural development, Montessori enables children to develop what they need to become happy and fulfilled adults.

Isn’t that what we all really want? Happy and healthy children?

When you start to incorporate Montessori into your home you are going to notice some positive changes in your toddler. These are a few of the benefits of Montessori life:

7 Benefits of Montessori Life:
  1. Children naturally learn self-discipline.
  2. The Montessori method inspires creativity.
  3. Growing a lifelong love of learning.
  4. Focuses on key developmental stages.
  5. Each child is valued as a unique individual.
  6. Montessori children develop order, coordination, concentration, and independence.
  7. Montessori children enjoy freedom within limits.

Creating a Montessori home doesn’t have to be confusing, expensive or overwhelming. In fact, it is probably true that you’re practicing a few Montessori principles already. With the right guidance, you can bring more of this into your home with ease.

Introducing Montessori Beginnings:

Introducing Montessori Beginnings, a 4-week online program to help you better understand Montessori. Giving you the chance to raise an independent, confident and happy child.

Montessori Beginnings includes:
  • 8 Age-appropriate guides to help you easily implement the Montessori method with every new development.
  • Over 50 printable activities to get you started with Montessori that you and your toddler will be able to use straight away.
  • Tools to create your own routine that follows your child’s lead to better let them naturally progress.
  • Room by room assessments to help prepare your environment which will create optimal working spaces in your home.
  • And so much more!

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s inside!

If you are ready to enjoy all of the benefits of a Montessori home you can get started today with Montessori Beginnings. In 4 short weeks, you will have all the tools you need to continue your Montessori journey.

Learn more about Montessori Beginnings here.

Have you seen any benefits from living a Montessori lifestyle? Leave a comment below and let me know what you love best about your Montessori life!

The post 7 BENEFITS OF MONTESSORI WITH YOUR TODDLER appeared first on This Toddler Life.

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It happens to the best of us. We fall for a few lies everyone believes about Montessori. When I first got started with Montessori someone told me that “Montessori isn’t for everyone” and thought, “Hmmm she’s probably right.” Now that I have grown in my Montessori journey I can tell you, she was not right. Montessori most certainly is for everyone!


In this post, I am going to go over a few of the common misconceptions about Montessori. Don’t feel bad if you believed one or two of these, I fell for a few too. Luckily, we have grown to find the truth in how beautiful Montessori truly is.

11 Lies Everyone Believes About Montessori Montessori is just a trend.

This is perhaps the silliest of all the misconceptions. The Montessori method was founded by Maria Montessori starting in 1907. Seeing that we have over 4000 certified Montessori schools in the US alone, I think it’s safe to say that Montessori is NOT just a trend.

Montessori has no structure.

Although Montessori suggests the adult should follow the child’s lead, it does not lack structure. Allowing the child to make decisions and have free movement are two important Montessori principles. This, however, does not mean that there is no structure. The adult must prepare the environment to have safe choices and give the child a chance to succeed.

Montessori is all play and no work.

One of the lies that everyone believes about Montessori is it’s all play and no work. It is often thought that children in a Montessori home are free to do as they please. This is untrue. Children enjoy freedom within limits.

Montessori is religious.

Montessori is not a religion. You can practice whichever religion you choose as well as Montessori. Or perhaps, not practice any religion at all. The two are not of the same.

Montessori is expensive.

While Montessori materials can be expensive, they can be budget friendly as well. For instance, practical life skills are very budget friendly. Following your child’s lead and giving your child freedom of movement, free. As you can see, Montessori isn’t all about the materials so don’t let them get out of hand and you won’t need to spend a fortune.

Montessori isn’t for everyone.

I mentioned that I used to think this one was true but I realize now it just isn’t. To each their own, yes, but that does not mean that Montessori can’t be for everyone. This form of education truly does work for children of all types and ages.

Montessori is all or nothing.

This is a big one for me. It is so incredibly easy to get hung up on trying to be ALL Montessori. Trying to impress the other moms in your Facebook group by setting up your home with all the perfect materials. In reality, those things are nice but it’s the principles that really make the most difference with Montessori.

Montessori must be done correctly or not at all.

Montessori doesn’t need to be done perfectly or not at all. If you choose to incorporate a few Montessori principles but not all of them, THAT IS OK! Don’t let anyone tell you different. I’m a firm believer that some Montessori is better than no Montessori. We’re not all going to start as Montessori gurus.

Montessori is just special materials.

There are special Montessori materials that are useful but they aren’t the only useful materials out there. In fact, when doing practical life skills there usually aren’t any special materials at all. Just normal cleaning and cooking tools.

Montessori kids do whatever they want.

One of the lies that everyone believes about Montessori is that the kids do whatever they want. That’s just not true. While Montessori children are given choices they’re not left to fend for themselves or do whatever they want. They’re in prepared environments.

Montessori is only for children of a certain age.

Montessori can be incorporated from the day your child is born. You can incorporate as much or as little as you like throughout your child’s life. There are so many resources out there today, you can find Montessori guidance for any age.

Montessori does not allow fantasy or imaginative play.

Imaginative play and fantasy are similar but not the same. Fantasy includes fairies and superheroes, which are frowned upon in Montessori. Montessori is reality-based and fantasy is not. Imaginative play is different. It is your child’s mind working to understand the world around him. Here is a great article depicting the two.

These common misconceptions often get in the way of new Montessori parents. It is good to understand what Montessori is really about. If you would like to learn more about what Montessori is, click here.

What common misconceptions did you believe about Montessori? Leave a comment and let me know!

The post 11 LIES EVERYONE BELIEVES ABOUT MONTESSORI appeared first on This Toddler Life.

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Now that the holidays are over and we are zooming into the new year, what family goals do you have in place? Maybe you want to start practicing Montessori? If so, then this is the place for you, friend! This Toddler Life has created an amazing resource to jump start your Montessori lifestyle, the 5 Day Montessori Activity Challenge.

Sign up here to get started now!

With this challenge, we will be concentrating on 5 of the Montessori principles (hint: you may already be following some of them!) You’ll be given several activities for your toddler to start engaging with right away and most of these activities are budget friendly… can I get a whoop whoop!

Here is an overview of the principles we will be practicing throughout the 5 day Montessori challenge:

Montessori Activity Challenge Principles Follow Your Child’s Lead

This is one of the most important principles in Montessori. Following your child’s lead is of the utmost importance. We learn what their preferences and strengths are by observing their work, not interrupting. We can guide our children better when we know what their interests are.

Freedom of Choice/Movement

Giving your child freedom of choice does not mean they get to do whatever they like. It does mean that they are free to make choices in a structured environment set up by an adult. They are gaining more independence and confidence every single decision they make.

Respect Your Child

Yes, you are the adult but you can still show your child respect. Talk to her like you would an equal. No baby talk. Talking to the child, not AT the child.

Prepare The Environment

In a prepared environment, a child will flourish. With distractions like loud and flashy toys taken away, they are able to concentrate on the task at hand. Start by making sure the materials they are using are whole and not missing any pieces, take any distraction out of the environment and follow your child’s lead.

Promote Practical Life & Sensorial Activites

Practical life & sensorial activities are the best things for a toddler. Young toddlers are physically growing so quickly simple things to you and I, such as smelling flowers, are activities they love. Toddlers are experiencing their senses for the first time so sensorial activities are very important to grow their knowledge of their senses.

Incorporating more Montessori into your home is the perfect way to start the new year. If you are just getting started with Montessori you may want to check out this post, WHAT IS MONTESSORI & 5 EASY WAYS TO BEGIN.

Another easy way to get started with Montessori is to check out Monti Kids. With educational toys for children and expert online video guidance for parents, Monti Kids makes it easy to support your child’s development from birth to age 3.

The post 5 DAY MONTESSORI ACTIVITY CHALLENGE appeared first on This Toddler Life.

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Last week I talked all about the ways you can have a minimalist Christmas. There are so many ways to enjoy the holidays that don’t include gifts. Unfortunately, unwanted holiday gifts are usually something you will end up having to deal with.

Gift giving and receiving when you’re a minimalist can be tricky. Ever throw a party and say no gifts, and no one listens to you? Yeah me too. It’s almost worse at Christmas.

I find telling well-meaning family and friends that they don’t need to buy you a gift will almost always result in you receiving a gift. It’s like reverse psychology or something.

It seems no amount of talking and suggesting will deter these gift givers. They feel obliged to bring a gift and not show up empty-handed. Just as I mentioned in a previous post about a Montessori Christmas, sometimes you really have to lay things out for people.

3 WAYS TO DEAL WITH UNWANTED HOLIDAY GIFTS BE CLEAR

It is much better to be clear and straightforward and say something like “We are not giving gifts this year and we would appreciate it if you would not give any gifts to us either.” This lets the other party know that you are serious and you aren’t “just saying” that you don’t want gifts.

GIVE IN

Another route to go is to just give in. Not totally give in though. Instead of letting them have a hay day with buying all these random gifts for you and your family you could suggest gifts that you approve of such as experiences and not physical gifts. Movie tickets, restaurant gift cards or concert tickets are always good suggestions even for a minimalist.

GUILTLESS DONATIONS

One more way to handle these persistent gift givers is to advise them that all their gifts, while greatly appreciated, will be donated to help another family in need. If you make this proclamation before you are given the gift then you will not have to feel guilty about following through with donating your unwanted holiday gifts.

The main point here is to tell your family exactly what you want from them. Don’t let them guess because if you do you are going to end up with a house full of gifts you never wanted.

Have you had to tell your family not to give you gifts? Let me know how it went in the comments.

The post 3 WAYS TO DEAL WITH UNWANTED HOLIDAY GIFTS AS A MINIMALIST appeared first on This Toddler Life.

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Trying to have a minimalist Christmas this year? Now that Black Friday has come and gone maybe you are wishing you would have taken advantage of some more of those limited time offers? Well, I’m here to remind you it’s not all about the gifts this Christmas.

Christmas wasn’t always just about the gifts anyway. If you are a minimalist then you know consumerism is at an all-time high and it is hard not to give into temptation. You’re in luck though, I have some great ways to spend Christmas as a minimalist. Most include spending time not money with your family.

MINIMALIST CHRISTMAS IDEAS HOT COCOA

Who doesn’t think of a nice hot cup of cocoa on Christmas? Instead of opening gift after gift on Christmas, share a homemade cup of hot cocoa with your children. Making marshmallows is tons of fun that your toddler will love helping with. Try this recipe.

TIME NOT MONEY

Dedicate the whole Christmas break to a staycation and make your kids a promise, no phones, no tv and no computers for the whole vacation. I guarantee you will all feel a lot closer at the end of your nonexpensive staycation.

GIFTS THAT KEEP ON GIVING

Just because you are a minimalist doesn’t mean you cant give anything to your family at Christmas. One of the best things you can give is a gift that keeps on giving such as a year pass to the zoo, kindle book subscription, or a Montessori box subscription.

RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS

We are in the habit of teaching our daughter about empathy, kindness, and humanity but we especially like to talk about these things around the holidays. Click here to see a full month worth of random acts of kindness for your toddler.

BIG FAMILY DINNER

Having a minimalist Christmas doesn’t mean you have to be stingy with Christmas dinner. This is one of my favorite parts about the holidays. I mean come on, who doesn’t like an endless buffet of jello puddings, green bean casserole, and sweet potato casserole?!

These are just a few of the ways you can have a minimalist Christmas with kids. What ways have you tried in the past?

The post HOW TO HAVE A MINIMALIST CHRISTMAS WITH KIDS appeared first on This Toddler Life.

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If you haven’t heard of the want need wear read gift ideas for Christmas, let me explain it to you. Instead of buying your child, husband or anyone else in your family for that matter, every single thing they want on their wish list you focus on four categories with one gift for each.

Want is something your family member wants. Need is something your family member needs. Wear is something your family member can wear. And lastly, read, is something your family member can read.

Some of you may be thinking that should be easy to come up with four gifts but for those of you who have trouble gift-giving, I thought I’d help you out with this perfect list of things your family might want, need, wear or read.

WANT NEED WEAR READ GIFT IDEAS Want

I personally love the idea of a trampoline, so much so that we didn’t wait for Christmas to get our 20-month-old daughter one. She loves it! We built the trampoline only about a foot off the ground so she can get on and off herself. Talk about gross motor skills!

Or check out the balance bikes. Perfect for learning the new skill of riding a bike!

If you are looking at keeping things on the more reasonable side of the budget I would definitely check out some year-round passes to the Children’s museum, Zoo or a subscription box that you can use all year long! The gift that keeps on giving! All in all this section should be the easiest, the person will most likely just tell you what they want.

Need

I would consider something like a learning tower a need for a toddler. These are considered a need in my house as they are so helpful in creating independence and practicing practical life skills with your little one.

You may also need a small child size table and chairs for your little one.

A toddler bed is always something to consider for a need as well. The average age a child switches from their crib is between 3-4 years according to www.babysleepsite.com.

Wear

If you want to get only one item here I’d go for a more expensive item such as a good winter coat. Something that you don’t get every day.

If you follow a more minimalist lifestyle you will want to stick to one outfit or maybe just some undergarments.

A nice pair of new shoes is always a good gift no matter your age.

READ

Books are one of my favorite gifts to give. They are popular all year round and rarely cost a fortune. You can think outside the box on this one and get a magazine subscription or a sticker book for the kids if they aren’t able to read yet.

There you have it. The perfect want need wear read gift ideas for toddlers. Have you decided to practice this Christmas theme this year? Let me know in the comments what you think.

The post 11 PERFECT WANT NEED WEAR READ GIFT IDEAS FOR TODDLERS appeared first on This Toddler Life.

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