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Showing posts from 2020

Shelf Help Ep. 36 - Our Birth Stories

In the last episode for 2020, Nicole and Amy chat about their birth stories. As Amy's due date approaches, we reminisce about our previous pregnancies, and birth experiences. From hospital births with interventions, to pain free unmedicated labor, we talk about how our babies were born and the first times we met each of our children. (CW: Miscarriage) Show Notes...None Thanks for joining me for today's podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and leave a review in your favorite podcast app.
If you are interested in finding Shelf Help in a podcast app, it is available on Apple | Spotify | Stitcher | Google.
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We Don't Need To Fix Every Feeling

I was washing dishes the other day and heard a familiar screech. Peaking around the corner, I could see that Theodore was struggling to place a ball onto one of his stacking toys. I just sat and quietly observed what he was going to do. He definitely let out some feels, screaming, throwing one of the balls, and then eventually got one of the balls on the pegs. Once he was successful, a quiet calm came to him and he went to retrieve the ball he had thrown in frustration. 

This whole incident is a common one in our house right now. Frustration bubbles over from time to time with all of our kids. But, honestly, it's very common with Teddy. One of the beautiful gifts that Montessori parenting has given me is the ability to accept my children for exactly who they are and really step back to observe the path they are on. And that includes accepting their inherent temperament. There is no one temperament that is suited to Montessori, not every Montessori child will be some bubbly, happy, …

Waldorf Window Stars FAQs and Tutorials

Each Advent I take a little time for self-care each day. It's such a busy season that I find having a few minutes to just relax for myself really helps me be a better parent each day. We all know that Montessori parenting is so much about being the prepared adult - which is really hard if we don't some time to fill our own cups. One thing that I have found deeply interesting, relaxing and mentally stimulating is making Waldorf window stars. 

I typically try to make one per day for each day during Advent. I try usually to quietly meditate while I work or chat with a friend and have some adult interaction. They are very beautiful and I leave them up for the dark winter for a bit of cheer and color. I am by no means an expert here, but I thought I would share some of the stars I have made this year (check out the free PDF for instructions!) and some FAQs. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  What do you need to make them? These stars are super simple to make, you&…

Getting Your Parenting Partner On Board with Montessori

While I often talk about the importance of preparing your environment in a Montessori home, perhaps the most important thing you can do is prepare yourself as the adult. Montessori education and parenting require a huge shift in the adult's behavior, perspective, and expectations. The more adults that are on board with this shift in a space, the better. The other day, I had an interesting discussion in my Montessori bookclub about getting spouses and parenting partners on board with Montessori. And, it made me realize that I had some thoughts and tips I wanted to share. 

First, let me say that Morgan is 100 percent on board with Montessori. He believes in the power of Montessori education and Montessori parenting principals resonate with him. But, this wasn't some immediate overnight process. Montessori has been a journey for him, for me, and for our family. And, that's ok! But, this doesn't mean Morgan is some sort of Montessori expert. He's not reading all the boo…

Our Stocking Stuffers 2020

With Christmas just a couple of weeks away we are full swing into our Advent celebrations! We're busy opening a new book each day, I'm busy making Waldorf paper stars, and Mary is walking along the path of our Advent spiral. Along with all these beautiful Advent traditions, I'm busy double checking my list, starting to wrap gifts and making sure we are all ready for Christmas day. This year has been particularly interesting since I haven't actually stepped into a store in weeks. 
This week's task has been making sure we have all our stocking stuffers ready to go. So, I thought I would share what we're including this year (and selfishly use this as our list to make sure we have everything we need!) Typically I try to make stockings a mix of small toys, practical items, and some sweet treats.
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. Teddy (15-months-old)Teddy isn't getting much in his stocking this year. As the fourth baby we don't need much and…

Play and Activities at 11-Months

If you're reading this in real time then you'll know that Teddy is not 11-months-old. I'm going back in time a bit to do some Covid related post catch up! Before I completely forget, I want to share some more information about older babies, specifically Ted. 

At 11-months-old Teddy is a busy little mover. He is still mostly crawling but is starting to walk between objects and pulls up on everything. Movement is where most of his day is spent. He's in and out of things, he is up and down the stairs, he is back and forth. I think one of his most favorite activities is simply throwing anything for him to go and retrieve. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. ActivitiesIn my mind, activities are those things that fill our day that aren't directly playing with a toy. It can be practical life work, movement, or something planned. Sometimes we did these things once, others were done daily, I really just follow his lead and interest. Here are some of the acti…

Shelf Help Ep. 35 - An Introduction to Montessori Potty Learning

The Montessori approach to potty learning looks a lot different than a traditional "potty training" method. In this week's episode Nicole and Amy introduce the concept of potty learning and talk about what that process looks like for their families. We discuss everything from toilet awareness with infants to transitioning to undies and what happens when there is an accident. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. Show Notes...DyperStanding Diapers3M Command BarOh Crap Potty TrainingNicole's Potty Learning Routine PrintableGerber UndiesMontessori Friendly Training Pants + Toddler Undies Options Thanks for joining me for today's podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and leave a review in your favorite podcast app.
If you are interested in finding Shelf Help in a podcast app, it is available on Apple | Spotify | Stitcher | Google.

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Montessori First Puzzles

Puzzles are a great toy option for young children for a variety of reasons. Not only do many children find them interesting, they speak to a young child's need for order, are self-correcting, and promote logical thinking skills. Puzzles help children learn to concentrate and teach language. But, there are a lot of different puzzles on the market. It can be difficult to know what will work for your child and where to start.

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 
In Montessori we always want to isolate concepts as much as possible when introducing things to our children. We want to start as simple as possible and then add additional information or skills. This includes puzzles. First we need to introduce what a puzzle is and how it is completed. But, we need to do it in a way that allows a child to be successful. So, with babies and young toddlers we start with simple single-shape puzzles. With just a single piece, babies can learn the object of in and out without need…

Standing Diaper Changes

I think at this point, I've said this a million times - babies are hardwired to move. Toddlers are hardwired to move. It is through movement that all children learn. It's this movement that helps make connections in their brains, and that helps them discover all the amazing details in our world. The freedom of movement is key to any Montessori home. But, there are times when movement is not exactly desirable from our young children - times when it becomes a larger hinderance to us than we want it to be. 

One of those times is during diaper changes. I would say right around 9-10 months for all of my kids traditional diaper changes have become an Olympic sport. Babies can move at this point! And they need to. They don't care about changing a wet or dirty diaper - no, no. They care about moving, wiggling, rolling, pulling to stand, and every other thing in the world but laying still to get clean. So, they scream, fight and continue to move. It can all be very frustrating. Ente…

A Montessori Entryway

Preparing Montessori spaces at home isn't just about creating perfect little playrooms for our kids to work in. But, instead, it's about creating spaces where your child can independently participate in a variety of everyday, real life tasks throughout the home. For us, creating a child friendly space in our entryway is an important part of allowing our children the freedom to come and go from the house with ease. Plus, I have found the more prepared the space, the less struggle it is to keep it clean and organized. I especially appreciate that since our "entryway" is actually just our living room. 

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 
Our entryway is by no means super beautiful or complicated. My goals are to make sure the kids can independently access their shoes, coats, and any other outerwear they need to leave the house. They need spots to hang their bags. And the smaller guys need a spot to sit to put things on. That's it!  CoatsHere in Minne…

Shelf Help Ep. 34 - Christmas Traditions...Montessori Style!

Holiday celebrations look different for every family. As Montessori families we are looking for ways to include our children in our celebrations in active and meaningful ways. In today's episode, Nicole and Amy discuss their Christmas traditions and how they include their children in the celebrations. From secular to religious ideas, we discuss how we will celebrate this holiday season.
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Show Notes...Kite PaperWaldorf Paper StarsOur first starsBeeswax Candle KitSaint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas LegendPick a Pine TreeAn Advent Calendar Idea - A Book a DayOur Advent Box - Advent Ideas for Montessori FamiliesThe Easiest Toddler Christmas TreeFontanini NativityCelebrating Advent with Children - How we Use an Advent SpiralShelf Help Ep. 31 - Our Approaches toward Santa Thanks for joining me for today's podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and leave a review in your favorite podcast app.
If you …

Montessori Fetching Games - 3 Ways

There are so many wonderful Montessori materials that can teach children a variety of academic topics. From language to math, to practical life and sensorial work, the Montessori classroom is filled with so many beautiful, scientific, and well thought out materials. But, that doesn't mean that all the learning happens only through those materials. There are a variety of games that children play with materials that help them gain a deeper understanding of the concepts. 

Since most of us won't have a ton of classroom materials at home (and we don't need them!), we can still play similar games that engage preschoolers and help them learn. One type of game that we really enjoy here are fetching games. Fetching games incorporate movement, elements of suspense, control, and academic learning. Basically, in these games you ask your child (or your child asks you) to "fetch" something. You then come back together and explore what you found! Here are three ways we play fetc…

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.  TheodoreTeddy 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 that h…