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.

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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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Eight Lessons in One!

I put something together that will get plenty of use!  This piece of work grows with your child’s language development in a fun, sensorial-rich presentation.  Read on to find out how I turned a tub full of rice and tiny objects into eight stand alone lessons.

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After loving the language objects from Montessori Services in my classroom, I decided to buy them to use at home and am so glad we did!   If you don’t want to buy the entire set at once, you could get a few from a craft store in the doll house section or find small items around your house.  Disclaimer:  the rice will probably come out of the tub.  The great thing about rice on the floor is that it leads perfectly into a practical life lesson on sweeping. Continue reading

Toddlers: Guest Post Part 1

My guest blogger, Mariana, is a dear friend and my personal Montessori guru.  Last week I told you a little about her (which you can find here), and asked you to submit some questions you’d like answered.  We had a fantastic response and decided to tackle a big one first!  Although this question pertains to a toddler classroom, I found so many helpful tips in Mariana’s answer as a mother of a three year old.  As I read her response,  I heard myself saying, “ohhhhhhh” and “that makes so much sense now!”  So, whether you’re a Montessori teacher, a parent homeschooling your child or someone just trying to understand the way toddlers work, this post is for you.IMG_9812

I have a question regarding running a Montessori inspired toddler room. There are 10 toddlers and 2 teachers, sometimes only 1 when nappy changes, etc. need to be done, in the room. The children range in age from 14 months to 2 1/2 years. We would really appreciate some tips on setting up a room which meet the needs of all the children? We are unfortunately not in a position to have both indoor and outdoor environments open. 
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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