HOW TO PREPARE FOR MONTESSORI WITH YOUR 18 MONTH OLD
Montessori with your 18 month old can be such a rewarding time. Your child’s independence is growing every day and I’m sure you have noticed he or she is able to do much more for themselves then only a few short months ago.
In order to facilitate there need for independence the best thing you can do is to be prepared. Be ready to give them a new challenge, create a prepared environment without distractions, and know what’s coming next so you are always able to help guide them through their journey.
Montessori with your 18 – 21 month old
It may be a good idea to go back to the previous Montessori by age articles listed below to see what activities or materials you didn’t get a chance to use yet. Also, if something seems too difficult for your child going back to look at easier activities. This will be a big help with any frustrations they may be expressing.
As a reminder, these activities and material suggestions are just starting points. Don’t expect your child to be able to do all of these things on the first try. This is just an age-appropriate time to begin working on mastering these suggested activities.
PREPARING YOUR ENVIRONMENT
Preparing your environment is something that constantly needs to be evaluated as your child grows through different developmental stages. This will help support your child’s independence and through his/her sensitive periods which we will talk about below.
There are 4 main areas you can focus on when preparing your home:
- The Area for Movement
- Area for Sleep
- Area for Feeding
- and the Area for Physical Care.
The area for movement should be set up in your main living space. This will help your child feel more a part of the family. It will also allow for independence to grow. Here are some suggested aids for indpendence to have in your area for movement:
- Low Shelves
- Child Sized Chair & Table OR a Rug
- Child Sized Lounge Chair
The area for sleep should have very few distractions (no toys). If you haven’t switched your child to a floor bed yet, it’s not too late. The low bed offers your child a better perception of their environment and allows them to move forward in their path towards independence. Other items for your child’s area for sleep include a wooden stool for dressing and a child-sized wardrobe for easy access.
The area for feeding will mostly be in your dining area or kitchen. You can aid your child with items such as a learning tower and child-sized dinnerware. Allowing your child to help and set up as many practical life activities in this area will be very beneficial to your toddler.
Lastly, the area for physical care will help your toddler gain independence. Setting up a self-care station in the bathroom is the perfect way to support your child in this area.
TOYS & MATERIALS
Storing your child’s materials on an eye-level shelf in your main living space is best. Anywhere between 6-12 toys or materials is a good number to have out at one time. Also, keep in mind that rotating the materials every few weeks is highly suggested.
Around 6-8 books can be set out as well. You can use a forward facing bookshelf or basket to store them. As long as your child can see the front of the book when making a selection rather than the spine of the book.
Using an educational program such as Monti Kids will be of great help. This program is designed to take the guesswork out of finding Montessori materials suitable for your toddler.
Here are just a few materials your 18-21 month old may be interested in:
- Bean Bags
- Strawberry Cutter
- Feather Duster
- Watering Can
- Garden Shovel
- Manual Juicer
- Pickler’s Triangle
- Hammer and Peg Set
- Grimms Rainbow
As a quick reminder, try not to correct the child when they are concentrating. It is suggested to wait until they are finished and then model the correct way to use the material for them continuing to present and model the activity to them each time until they correctly use the item.
Toddlers often repeat the same activity over and over again. This may seem funny to us as parents but it is your child’s way of understanding how the material works. Allow your child to repeat the activity as long as he or she sees fit. Most likely they will continue to do so for a few days and then fill complete one day and not be interested in the material again.
Throwing and getting frustrated is a toddler’s way of communicating that a task is too difficult or too easy. If your child continues to get upset with an activity it is best to take it out of rotation and bring it back out at a later date.
Here are some activities your 18-21 month old may enjoy:
- Making Clay Figures
- Jumping on Trampoline
- Using Bath Pouring Toys
- Play Hammer and Peg
- Tossing Bean Bags
- Kicking a Ball
- Stacking Cups
- Making Mud Pies
- Outdoor Painting
- Playing Handbells
- Paint Sticks
Practical life activities are important because they allow your child to feel part of a community. They promote sensorial exploration, language development, and independence.
Start to introduce practical life activities to your child by first observing your child’s interests. Present the activity to your child remembering to practice beforehand. Starting with one activity and building more and more. Practical life can be done in the kitchen, bathroom, outside, and just about anywhere in the home!
Start by trying one of these practical life activities and building from there:
- Buttering Toast
- Juicing Oranges
- Peeling an Egg
- Pouring Water
- Washing Body
- Dry Self Off After Bath
- Going To Toilet
- Wiping Sink
- Choose Clothes
- Help Dust
- Collecting Firewood
- Help Feed Pets
The child’s absorbent mind (age 0 – 6 years) is driven by what Maria Montessori identified as sensitive periods in development. Follow your child’s lead for his/her cues of sensitive periods beginning. Try not to underestimate your child’s ability or work. If he/she is doing certain work over and over, they are probably in their sensitive period for that work/task.
Here’s a list of sensitive periods your child may be experiencing at this age:
- Movement Birth-6 Years
- Gross & Fine Motor Development Birth-2.5 Years
- Language Birth-6 Years
- Sensory Skills Birth-5 Years
- Small Objects 1 Year – 3.5 Years
- Emotional Control Birth-2.5 Years
- Toilet Learning 12 Months-18 Months
- Order 1 Year – 3.5 Years
Remember that your child is in their first plane of development. Maria Montessori described this time as the absorbent mind. Your child is watching you. You should be modeling the behavior you desire your child to have.
Ready to take the next step into Montessori living? Join us in The Montessori Learning Center to learn everything you need to know about Montessori with your 18 month old to 21 month old! Click the image below to learn more.
What questions do you have about Montessori with your 18 month old – 21 month old? Pop them in the comments below so I can help you get started with your Montessori journey!
Disclaimer: This isn’t the end all be all for Montessori with your 18 month old – 21 month old. Montessori is largely based on following your child’s lead, knowing that every child is unique, there can not be one set standard for every child. Use this information as it suits your child.