Even though, on their own, they may tend to create chaos, young children have a tremendous need and love for an orderly environment. When everything has its own place and the environment is organized it makes it easier for the child (and parent) to maintain a neat and well-organized atmosphere. Here are some ways in which you can support your child.
Children’s bedrooms may clearly reflect their personalities and interests.
- Ideally, the young child’s bed is low to the ground, making it easy for toddlers to go in and out on their own. Rather than a crib, Montessori urged parents to modify the bedroom to facilitate both the child’s safety and his early independence. Consider a futon or a mattress without the frame.
- Mount a little coat and hat rack low on one wall where your child can reach them.
- Decorate the walls with high quality art prints of children or animals hung at the child’s eye level.
- Modify your light switches with extenders to allow the young child to turn lights on and off independently.
- DON’T — USE A TOY BOX! Imagine the chaos in your kitchen or workshop if you threw your tools and utensils together in a chest. Instead use low shelves to display books and toys. Only put a few number of toys and rotate as attention wanes.
- Provide shelf or table space for collectibles from nature.
- Find a way to add music to your child’s room.
- As your child is ready, make sure that your child’s clothes chest has accessible drawers and label the drawers: socks, underwear, shirts, etc.
- Provide a hamper for your child’s dirty clothes. Even a very young walker can place dirty clothes in the basket.
- A child-sized work table can be used for both art and food preparations.
- Set aside the bottom shelf in your refrigerator for child-friendly snake. A child of two can open the door and get her own prepared snack or drink stored in a cup.
- Have some plates, cups, and napkins accessible on a low shelf.
- Have small towels available for cleaning up spills. Your child will imitate you and practice with child size brooms, mops and dusters.
- Look for a sturdy stool for the bathroom sink. Make sure it’s secure, comfortable space for bathroom tasks.
- Have soap and a small hand drying towel available. Let your child help with tooth brushing until he can do it all by himself.
When there is a child space in every room where the parent spends time, it helps the child feel a greater sense of belonging in an adult size house. The home will constantly be adapting as the child grows. In the beginning safety is of the utmost concern and the house should be very childproofed. To get a feeling about your home, get down on the floor and imagine it from your child’s perspective!
Excerpts from “Montessori in the Home” by Tim Seldin, TOMORROWS CHILD.