One of the things I love about the Montessori philosophy is the idea of helping children become independent individuals (with boundaries of course). I know my kids LOVE being able to accomplish little life skills by themselves.
I love one of Maria Montessori’s more famous quotes,
Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.
Unfortunately for kids, most of the world is geared towards adults. All our tools (vacuums, brooms, counters etc…) are made for taller people. It would be like us living in a home made for little people, having to bend over all the time to make dinner or barely fit on a chair.
I personally feel like making a few changes to our home has made the kids feel more a part of the family. It’s not all about the adults meeting the kids needs, it’s helping them to participate in the natural rhythms of the home.
The kids are encouraged to help out with all the daily work, laundry, meal prep, folding laundry, etc… They are a valued part of this family and we all need to work together.
Getting the kids to help out more was really just a matter of making some of these spaces easier to access and giving them smaller tools to work with.
We’ve done a few things in the bathrooms to make them more kid accessible. Our main bathroom is small, so we’ve just got a couple step stools for the kids.
But in our master bathroom, we made the kids a little self care station. Hailey wasn’t able to see herself in the mirror, even with the step stool. She loves brushing her hair and teeth, but needed a mirror closer to her level (Noah too).
So I found this one at the thrift store for $3 and then we used a little nick knack shelf we already had to make this little space. Technically, it still need baskets for the kids to help organize their tooth brushes, combs and towels. But we’ll get there.
Our kitchen is set up very efficiently, so we don’t really have a lot of extra space. I really would love to have a small table for the kids in there, but I’m not sure if that’s going to fit.
I was able to clear off a little shelf for the kid’s meal prep materials though.
A little peak into their nook of the kitchen. They still have to share with the Tupperware, but I was able to consolidate that all to the bottom shelf.
With the Montessori method, kids use real, breakable materials. Hailey is still learning what fragile means and she’s broken a glass already. But because of that experience, she’s getting better about being gentle with these things.
The good news is that I haven’t spent all that much on these things, so if they break, it’s alright. It’s more important for them to learn how to be respectful of their environment. It’s all about forming the will (Catholic, much?).
The little glass pitchers are from the thrift store (50 cents each), the glasses are from Ikea ($6, I think for the set) and then these beautiful little dip bowls and snack plates from Target’s clearance rack.
I’ve got little baskets to hold their child sized flatware, tongs, spatulas and veggie peelers (some of which are in the dish washer). I’m still on the hunt for more kitchen supplies that are child sized, but we’re getting there.
We’re storing some of their cleaning supplies in here too, with their little spray bottle (art section at Hobby Lobby) and little tiny scrubber from a kitchen supply store.
Another little thing we’ve done is added coat hooks for the kids. Now they have no excuse for not hanging up jackets when we come back inside.
I’ve still got a long list of ideas to make the house more accessible to the kids, but it’s a work in progress.
What do you think? Have you made any changes to your home to help accommodate your kids?