Meals with Toddlers

How in the world does a toddler to sit at a table, use a real plate, drink out of a glass and clean up after he finishes?!  Lots of repetition and patience (oh, and paper towels).  Please remember, every child is different and what works for one might not work for another.  Give yourself some grace.  We’re all figuring out this parenting thing one day at a time!

Like everything else in Montessori, mealtime starts with a well prepared environment.  You should make things accessible if you expect your child to do things independently.  They should be able to get their own plates, bowls, cups and utensils without any help.  Encourage your child to help you set the table before snacks and meals.  I also suggest having easy access to fresh water.  Some people set up dispensers on a counter or table top, while I prefer to use a small pitcher.  It all  depends on your personal preference and your child’s ability.

Shelf

There’s no telling how many times I’ve said, “please sit down while you’re eating” and  “please keep your food on your plate.”  It’s important to have firm, consistent guidelines when it comes to meals.  If food gets thrown or glasses intentionally poured out,  I simply state facts: “I see your banana on the floor”, followed by, “If you throw your food on the ground again, snack time is over.”  I give them the opportunity to eat correctly and stand behind my statement.  Stay strong, they will survive until the next snack or meal.

At the end of the meal, they push in their chairs,  clear their own dishes and help wipe off the table.  Believe me when I say I’m far from perfect and definitely a work in progress!  I admit that sometimes I rush the clean up process by helping when I shouldn’t.  I constantly remind myself that by stepping  in unnecessarily,  I’m hindering their independence.  Children are capable of so much if we set them up for success and believe in their capabilities.

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The Perfect Egg

A few weeks ago I stumbled on an article claiming to have cracked the code for the perfect hard-boiled egg.  It promised a well cooked, fluffy yolk, a non-rubbery egg white, and easy peeling!  I’ve heard similar claims before and so I was skeptical of this one, but decided to give it a try.  I’ve made them multiple times with the same results so I’m confident when I tell you, these eggs are perfect!  Here is the step-by-step:

  • bring water to a boil
  • lower cold eggs from the refrigerator into boiling water using a ladle or spoon (so they don’t crack)
  • boil for 30 seconds
  • pour a large cup (or 2)  of ice into the pot of boiling water
  • once the water reaches a boil again, cook for 11 minutes
  • remove from heat and drain water
  • run eggs under cold water until they’re cool to the touch
  • place in refrigerator

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Fall Treats

I’m so excited to be part of  a blog-hop series incorporating Montessori into the upcoming holiday season!  This 15 day event will give you some great ideas and I look forward to reading something new everyday from these fantastic bloggers.  Check out  Montessori Bloggers Network to see all the posts in this series and get some great ideas and inspiration!

Finding a snack for your little ones that is healthy, easy to make, tastes good, and uses multiple senses can feel like searching for a unicorn…blindfolded.  Well I think I found the unicorn!  This apple chip recipe is a delicious snack and becomes an edible garland for your winged/furry friends outside.  I hope you have as much fun as we did making both the snack and the craft! Continue reading

Snack time!

“Mommy, I want a snack.  Mommy, can you get me a snack?  Mommy, I’m hungry.”  I heard this more times than I’d like to admit before I actually did something about it.  What took me so long to set up a snack area for my daughter?  I was nervous about letting her have free reign over her snacking and wasn’t sure how to pull it off  (plus it required cleaning out my pantry).

“Little children, from the moment they are weaned, are making their way toward independence.” -Maria Montessori

Goldfish

I cleared off the bottom shelf and measured the depth to figure out what size containers to buy.  I wanted there to be enough space for a bowl, the container and the lid  while she got a snack.  I found some angled glass jars (sometimes called penny jars or candy jars) that allow for easy scooping and opted to use measuring cups instead of traditional silver scoops.  I did this because the entire set was fairly inexpensive and gave me the ability to use different sizes for each jar (i.e. using smaller cups for sweeter snacks).  I only filled the jars with a small amount of each snack and stored the rest in the pantry (this  keeps it from getting stale and limits the amount of available food).  I put a basket with fresh fruit on the second shelf, some non-skid shelf liner to helped keep everything in place and  a snack shelf was born!

Shelf

My daughter’s reaction was priceless.  “Oh wow, Mommy!  This is for me?!  I love it!”  The first couple of days she binged on snacks, but once the newness wore off, she slipped into her typical eating habits and still loves her snack shelf and the ability to serve herself.  She has access to her own plates, bowls, cups, silverware and kitchen tools in a low drawer.  If she gets thirsty, a pitcher of cool water and cup on a tray is available all day.  Eventually, I want to set up a dishwashing area for her, but for now she sets her dirty dishes on the kitchen counter and leaves her cup on the tray for use throughout the day.  I love the freedom and independence this area gives her and am so glad I finally cleaned off that bottom shelf!

“He who is served is limited in his independence.” -Maria Montessori

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Pouring

Sweet Treat

The mere mention of fruit snacks, fruit roll ups or fruit gummies send my daughter into a wide-eyed frenzy.  We’re visiting my parents this week and BB (my mom) told me about a homemade fruit leather recipe she found on CookingLight.com.  I jumped at the chance to make a healthy, organic version of my daughter’s favorite treat using local peaches and fresh strawberries.  I love that it only has four ingredients and uses natural sugar from the fruit and a little honey to make it just the right amount of sweet.

Cutting Fruit with BB

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