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January 04, 2018

Making Water Available -- Montessori Young Toddler Week 5

I have talked about the importance of water in Montessori environments many times before. Water becomes the gateway to so many independent activities. So many practical life works include water - care of the environment work, care of self work! Water is just so essential. 

Make drinking water available with a small cup -- the first step to independent water use in our Montessori home

Introducing water can feel really scary and hard because it can be messy. But, it doesn't have to be all at once. For us, it starts at 6 months with the introduction of the weaning cup. For us, we offer the weaning cup with meals. This has gotten Augustus used to using a cup and drinking water when thirsty. Now, at 13 months, he is ready for water at other times of the day. 

We are starting slowly, with his weaning cup, by making it available at other times of the day. So, now we have a cup of water sitting on our children's counter for him to drink at will. Soon, we will add a small pitcher, but for now, I am filling it for him. 

Now, I don't want to make this seem like it doesn't cause a mess or is totally easy. Because, it's not. He spills, he gets wet, the counter gets wet. But, it's ok. We keep it to an ounce or two of water. So, even if a spill occurs, its not a huge disaster. Spills also provide opportunities to start cleaning up! 

If you want to start allowing water for your young toddler, here are some things that have helped us stay successful: 
  • limit the amount of water available 
  • use a familiar drinking cup 
  • set limits about where the water use should occur -- for us, we set a limit about walking around with glass (that's not something I'm comfortable for him yet) 
  • start making clean up materials available, and joyfully modeling cleaning spills 

Another way to help make your child successful is to prepare your space for independent use! We use our children's kitchen to store our cups/plates and other children's tools. This gives Gus the ability to grab a cup when he is thirsty. Eventually, he will be able grab a cup, fill it up, and drink away! But, baby steps!

How do you make water available to your 1-year-old? 


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