“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
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!
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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