After two years, toddler life is about being eager to participate in everyday routine and craving independence. So if you’re keen on practicing Montessori at home, providing your child access to the basic self-care items is beneficial.
From independently brushing their teeth and washing hands to grooming themselves, let’s look at how to create a Montessori self-care station to help our toddlers take care of their bodies.
How To Use a Self-Care Station?
You could opt for a self-care station in the bathroom or your child’s bedroom, whichever suits them better. Remember, Montessori spaces in the home are a prepared environment that must be orderly, clutter-free, simple, and beautiful.
When you’re in the process of setting up a self-care station or any practical life activity, try to use child-size instruments or materials. The set-up must be accessible for them to reach without much assistance.
What to Include in a Montessori Self-Care Bathroom Station?
Your child might be unable to use all the self-care items without assistance. So we parents need to help them until they’ve mastered each skill.
Remember, practice makes perfect.
Invite your little ones to perform tasks to care for themselves. Such tasks must be practiced and incorporated into daily routines, allowing your child to independently complete these tasks quickly. It gives them a strong sense of pride and boosts their self-esteem.
Your toddler may have an unusual sense of dressing up or styling their hair; you’ll probably need to keep calm and look away! This phase will pass too. Enjoy their quirks while they last!
Independent Care vs. Collaborative Care
For little ones to be able to independently care for themselves with daily rituals, try starting with these tasks as choices or collaborations. The Montessori approach believes in getting children to learn to do such things for themselves instead of having someone do it for them.
Collaborative care involves lending a helping hand to your little one in completing tasks. For example, use sentences like; let’s put your pants on together, or Let’s brush our teeth together! Eventually, these grow into tasks that children will be able to complete independently.
I always brush my teeth alongside my little one. This way, he gets to see me doing it and starts to mimic my actions. It’s a quick, easy way to teach while allowing for a fun few minutes of bonding time.
Toddlers learn how to use the toothbrush with adult guidance; as they turn into preschoolers, they’re sufficiently coordinated to add toothpaste to their toothbrush.
As a bonus, you’ll free up more time to indulge in self-care once your child can independently care for themselves in these daily routines!
Using Routine Cards
Having a consistent routine at home, especially for self-care, is as beneficial for infants and toddlers as it is for parents. The use of routine cards helps parents and children alike to implement and follow a consistent routine.
Using routine cards will help children feel more in control of the process. Here’s how you can use these cards:
- Sit with your child at a quiet time of the day.
- Allow your child to select the activities that need to be done in the morning/evening.
- Hang them up in a neat, orderly manner for your child to view them.
It can help children initiate self-care tasks like brushing their teeth, going to the bathroom, etc.
What to Include in a Montessori Self-Care Station?
Here’s a list of the most basic items that you could arrange in a self-care station for your toddler to access:
- Tissues for children to blow their noses
- Water and soap for washing hands
- A small hand towel or washcloth for drying hands and wiping off spills or splashes
- Toothbrush and toothpaste for brushing their teeth
- A child-sized hairbrush or comb
- A mirror at their eye-level
- A sturdy step stool for your child to reach the sink and any supplies (if needed)
- Timer (helps introduce the concept of time for a bath or brushing teeth)
- A storage basket or drawer can be used to store washcloths, towels, a toddler playbook or two, and wipes
- The toileting needs of your toddler can be accommodated with a potty chair or a potty seat for the toilet with a low step stool. Do ensure you keep the toilet paper within reach.
How To Integrate Access to Water for Your Child?
One of the trickier parts of setting up a self-care station is allowing your little one to access water safely. Multiple solutions help provide water to your child’s level for hand washing or teeth brushing.
- One of the simpler solutions includes using a large bowl to serve as your child’s basin. You could use a jug to pour water and fill it up.
- A popular solution is to use a water dispenser, which your toddler can use with a turn of the tap to fill a cup with water or wet the toothbrush.
- If you’re keen on creating independence by getting your toddler to use the same tap as adults, using a faucet sink extender (included in the Monti Kids Toilet Learning Kit) is a great way to go about it.
Safety and Accessibility
While setting up self-care stations, we must ensure that the tools are non-toxic and safe for our toddlers. Since the Montessori method involves using objects and toys mostly made of wood or natural materials, Montessori-inspired self-care stations must also contain similar materials.
Outside of the bathroom self-care station, the perfect Montessori toddler room has everything accessible to your little one. This includes a Montessori closet for dressing, with a low-hanging clothes rack and shelves accessible for your child to choose their clothes from limited options. Using baskets with socks, innerwear, shoes, and a hamper to put their dirty clothes in provides perfect accessibility.
This also applies to self-care items that must be ideally placed within your child’s reach for them to access without help. If you can’t move or lower something to your toddler’s height, the next best option would be to provide a stool to help your child climb on.
Montessori Bathroom Inspiration
Here are some lovely self-care stations from Montessori parents that could inspire ideas for the perfect Montessori bathroom:
As you can see, organizing a self-care station for your toddler doesn’t take much. Keeping it neat and orderly is more important. It’s bound to get the little ones excited and eager to practice self-care independently.
Any self-sufficient child ties his shoes, dresses, or undresses himself and derives a sense of independence that reflects their joy and achievement.
A self-care station is essential in helping toddlers build self-confidence and a sense of independence and benefit their physical well-being. So give it a try to know the actual benefits, and don’t forget to be patient!