Skip to main content

Practical Life with Babies -- Montessori Baby Week 45

I have talked about the importance of practical life with toddlers many times. Practical life work -- and I do mean truly practical work -- is the foundation of using Montessori at home. Getting your kids involved in the kitchen, in cleaning, in self-care, in the real and meaningful work that is taking place in your home is exactly the type of "activity" your child naturally craves. But, this desire and the ability doesn't just magically appear one day. It slowly builds over time. 

Practical life with babies can start at birth, here are some ways that Montessori babies can become involved in practical experiences

Gus is in this phase right now. The more he is able to move and explore, the more I see him watching, attempting, and participating in practical experiences. His mind unconsciously absorbs everything around him, so by being in our family, he sees, experiences, and learns how to participate. We just have to give him the opportunity to practice and show us what he knows! Now that he is really moving a ton, is the moment to give him that time!
"The child's conquests of independence are the basic steps in what is called his 'natural development.' In other words, if we observe natural development with sufficient care, we can see that it can be defined as the gaining of successive levels of independence." Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind 
A baby's first practical experiences start at birth, right? Gus has been involved in self-care tasks since he was born. As we talked him through diaper changes, dressings, and baths. Now that his experiences are broader, we talk him through those as well. We talk as we do laundry, or wash dishes, or eat dinner. And, each one of these experiences helps to bring him closer to full participation in practical tasks. Now as an older baby, Augustus really is at the point of starting to become physically involved in practical life tasks at home! 


So what practical tasks can an older baby actually do? Here are some ideas:

  • Put laundry into a hamper {like these pictures}
  • Use a comb 
  • Use a rag after meals to "wipe" hands and table 
  • Grab a diaper 
  • Pick an outfit choice from a limited selection 
  • Eat independently 
  • Use a rag during bath time 
  • Explore a hand broom
  • Put a dish on a low shelf 
  • Throw away garbage 
  • Explore a tissue while wiping their nose 



I'm sure there are tons of other practical life experiences that older babies can start to participate in. It is a matter of looking at what experiences are relevant to your home life and breaking them down into simple steps and giving your baby the opportunity. Now, I don't mean to imply that it will be done perfectly, or that this is in any way required. This is meant to be fun exploration, of course it's not always going to look and feel the same way that it will if you undertake the task. It's going to be messy sometimes, it's going to be incomplete sometimes, there will be times when your child has no interest. And, that's all ok! 

This day, Gus started and stopped putting his sleeper in the laundry several times, before finally abandoning it. He explored the task and I just gave him the space to do so. And when he was done, I simply helped finish the process! But, giving him this time helps him know he is capable, respected, and oh so valued in our home! 


Does your baby participate in practical life? How have you made it work? 


Practical life with babies can start at birth, here are some ways that Montessori babies can become involved in practical experiences


---

Comments

Unknown said…
But my 10 months old still puts everything in her mouth...

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2020

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure! 2021 UPDATE: Please be patient with links this year, with supply chain issues things are selling out faster and restocking slower. I anticipate some of the specialty toys will not restock once they are gone. So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created toys, but only works for classroom settings. While there are many work

Montessori Toddler: Favorite Toys and Activities 18 to 20 months

I've been putting off this post for a little while because I felt a little disappointed that I didn't have more to share. See, Teddy just isn't that into materials, especially those on the shelf. He tends to return to a couple of favorites over and over again and ignore all other attempts at shelf work. But, really that's my own adult feelings getting in the way of Teddy's own interests, and developmental path.  It's also me subconsciously valuing fine motor skills and stillness as more important than gross motor play and movement. I working hard not to do that, and want to normalize that all toddlers are different. All children have different interests and that concentration doesn't have to mean sitting still for long stretches of time.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. With all that said, here are some of Teddy's favorites over the last couple of months. Favorite Montessori Toys 18 to 20 Months I'm listing the toys that have be

Our Kids' Montessori Gift Lists 2020

With the holiday season upon us we've been making lists and gathering gifts for the Kavanaugh children. It's always a fun process of observing my children, seeing what they would really be interested in and making some decisions based on what I see. This year is different because I'm also making decisions knowing that we are looking at a very long and quiet winter ahead. So that's influencing the amount I will buy and the specific choices I will/have made.  Henry and Nora are also at the point, being into the second plane of development, where they heavily influence the items on the list and what is ultimately purchased. So, you'll see that while Montessori influences what I will purchase and what goes on their list, so does their own preferences and personality.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Theodore Teddy is 14-months-old right now and as the fourth baby, we have so many toddler things. But, there are a few things I've still found tha