Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Preparing for Winter with a Montessori Toddler

I don't know if you have ever noticed this, but the more you try to rush a toddler, the slower and slower they move. It's like a law of nature. Like, when you are trying to get out of the door for something.

Trying to get a toddler to be independent and learn new skills in these moments can be some of the most incredibly frustrating moments in parenthood. But, there are still times when you want your toddler to learn new skills and be as independent as possible. The trick I have found is to try to give these opportunities for independence outside of the stressful moments. When the pressure is off. That way the skills are ingrained when the pressure is on. 


For me, this has been especially true teaching practical life skills -- like self dressing. The more I push when I'm under a deadline, the more resistance I face. And, the more naturally frustrated I am, just because "WE HAVE TO GO!" 

So, we've been taking a different approach with Nora and taking the pressure off by giving her time and space to practice these skills on her schedule. In particular, all the new little skills she has to learn as the weather turns into deep winter. Suddenly, it's not just a coat we need, but gloves/mittens, boots, hat and scarfs. 


For a Montessori toddler, or any toddler, the strong desire to be independent is there. By creating a simple shelf with winter themed practical life, she can practice whenever she feels like it. She can perfect the skills she needs, when she needs. No pressure, no stress, no need to worry about mistakes or if she will be warm enough. 


To create this little corner, I simply added some baskets and her REAL winter gear. I started with gloves, since that is our fall time staple, but will eventually change over to her winter mittens. I'll also add a scarf and her snowpants as we get closer to deep winter. These real objects are naturally attractive to her, but then it's also as practical as possible.


I placed on a low shelf right near our entry way where we already have independent access to shoes/coats and a small dressing chair. It's exactly where she will be getting dressed and undressed all season. This is similar to what I have done with her shoes, socks and underwear in the past as well.


Then, I set her free! Practical life exploration at it's finest. I have helped if she asked, but mostly she has been content to sit and try on her own. Hopefully, this simple practical life set up will make our winter days just that much more relaxed, independent and joyful! 

What kind of practical life does your 2-year-old enjoy? How do you encourage independence, like self-dressing? 


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