How to Encourage Toddler Independence at Home
How can you design home spaces in a way that allows your child to be independent? Greene Towne Montessori School shares their tips!
The youngest students in our classrooms at Greene Towne Montessori School are the tiny but mighty toddlers—who crave freedom within limits and the opportunity to be self-sufficient. After all, they are watching us and want to emulate what they see! A Montessori classroom, the home away from home, is designed for the child differently than their actual home, and that’s where we can offer assistance. Greene Towne’s own American Montessori Society certified Co-Lead Toddler Teachers Michelle Nowacky, M.S. Ed., and Dominique Wells created Ms. Michelle and Ms. Dominique’s Guide to Bringing the Montessori Approach Into Your Home: How To Create A Child Friendly Environment. We will share a few of their tips here!
How can you design home spaces in a way that allows your child to be independent? Keep these principles in mind: Your child’s perspective – physically and emotionally, opportunity for independence, simplicity, and order.
1. Entrance to your home
Entryways are often congested and busy. Consider having a space for your child that provides a tranquil and calm experience. This space does not have to be directly in front of your door.
Miniature kitchen utensils are great for children and can be found at most stores.
3. A Calm Area
All children want to feel significant and a sense of belonging. When they do not, it translates through their behavior. Have a safe space for them to sit with their emotions, or just simply for alone time.
4. A Reading Corner
Store and rotate books. Change books as the seasons change, and introduce emotions and different cultures through books.
5. The Bathroom
- If your child wears a diaper, create a new routine of only changing their diaper in the bathroom. This will deepen the connection between bodily excretions and the bathroom.
- Toilet paper: place a line of painter’s tape on the wall as a guide for where to stop unraveling the toilet paper. Show your child how to pull the toilet paper down to the line and then tear it off.
6. Your Child’s Workspace
- Be sure to keep at least your child’s workspace organized. This will help your child to feel calm and in control.
- Make sure your child can access their activities on their own, limit the amount of activities that is available to them, and store and rotate them.
- Remember that your children are absorbing information and learning through their experiences. Doing things on their own is the perfect tool for their independence, emotional regulation, and sense of responsibility.
Located in Center City Philadelphia, Greene Towne Montessori School serves children 18-months-old through Kindergarten and is accredited by the American Montessori Society and the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools. Founded by Philadelphia parents in 1966, Greene Towne is the longest running Montessori school in the Philadelphia area. The school has some spaces remaining for this fall and will soon be taking applications for 2022-23. To learn more, visit www.gtms.org.
Greene Towne Montessori School supports the Philly Family Community.