As I’ve been working on this series, I’m reminded of how easy it is to neglect my children’s needs in designing our home. It’s really in the details. Can they wash their hands on their own? Get a snack? Is furniture too heavy? Towels out of reach?
I’ve fixed numerous things as I’ve gone from room to room taking pictures and am taking mental notes of things to fix, amend, or add to our home. As I’m doing this, though, I’m having to remind myself that I won’t have the “perfect” environment. I don’t have the money to spend on expensive Montessori furniture and every little item. I don’t have the space for a hand-washing table or a separate reading nook or any of the other wonderful environment ideas I’ve seen in other Montessori homes.
But I can still prepare our home to fit the needs and development of our two growing boys.
Our kitchen is tiny. By tiny I mean my refrigerator door can’t completely open and I have to stand to the side to take things out of the oven. It’s small, but it works. Here’s a few ways we’ve made the kitchen more available to Joey:
He has his own small kitchen with play wooden food and child-size kitchen utensils. He has a small step stool under the kitchen (this was actually my husband’s when he was a child) and his dust pan rests against the wall. I have plans to make him an apron and it’ll hang by ours.
Joey’s plates, bowls, cups, and sliverware are in the lowest drawer so that he can get out what he needs and also help set the table. We’ve chosen to forego the plastic for our children (although we use plastic snack cups & water bottle for outings along with a sippy cup as Joey’s nighttime cup).
We’ve done this since Joey was 6 months old. We waited until he was between 12-15 months to introduce him to a glass. With Otto I want to try to introduce him to a glass around 6-8 months.
Joey has been trying to get his own water using the stool and the kitchen sink. It wasn’t the safest option, so I picked up this jug from Aldi for him to use. He’s still getting the hang of it.
One thing I’ve done, but not as consistently as I’d like, is put prepared snacks on the bottom shelf of the fridge for Joey to grab when he’s hungry. By the time I snapped this picture Joey had already eaten the cheese (tall cup), blueberries, bread, apple, and orange. (And, yes, we did feed him! He had cereal and then a bowl of grapes followed by a bowl of cantaloupe!)
For thoughts and ideas on kids in the kitchen, check out my post on practical life and cooking.
Our bathroom is small and at one point I contemplated putting a mirror at Joey’s level and a wash stand, but we just don’t have the room.
I’ve hung hooks for a hand towel and his bath towel. The stool by the toilet is also for potty training. Joey’s out-grown it, so now it’s strictly for standing. With the stool, the hand soap and his tooth brush are within reach.
When he was still small enough to use the “little potty” under the sink I had a small print of the larger picture that hangs in our bathroom, so he could see it too.
I’d love to hear how you’re adapting your home to fit your child. Please share…