We all know that young children thrive on consistency and routine. Dr. Montessori discovered that children from ages one to four are actually in a “sensitive period” for order. This means that not only do they crave consistency from their environment and schedule, but that toddlers are particularly attuned to developing an internal sense of order at this age, if given opportunities to develop this skill.
For this reason, Montessori environments – both at school and in the home – are carefully prepared so that every item has a place. (I have previously posted about setting up Montessori spaces in the home – the bedroom and the bathroom – and am currently working on a piece about the kitchen.) But while it’s fairly easy to create physical places for things, creating a sense of order throughout the day is far more difficult. Young children have a strong need to feel in control and yet so much of what happens during the day is determined by others. Plus, toddlers can’t yet grasp the concept of time – today, tomorrow and yesterday – because the part of the brain that is able to plan ahead and make predictions about the future is still developing.
Creating a few simple routines at home can help your toddler practice making simple predictions, as well as understand concepts such as “before and after.” A consistent routine can (sometimes) eliminate power struggles because your child feels more control over what is happening. A routine is especially helpful during difficult times of day, such as at bedtime or when getting ready for school in the morning.
I’ve collected a few tips good from the experts:
Include preparation for transitions in the routine. For example, say, “We have 10 minutes left before we start getting ready for bed. Since toddlers can’t read a clock, try setting a timer. When the timer goes off, it’s time to start the bedtime routine.
Include opportunities for (limited) choice. Toddlers like to feel in control. You can create the illusion of choice, such as “Are you going to wear the blue shirt or the red shirt?” By putting clothes where your child can access them, this also allows for greater control (aka, independence!) over the process. Click to read full article.
About Greenspring Montessori School Greenspring Montessori School has served the greater Baltimore area since 1962, as a leader in both Montessori education and teacher training. The Montessori method supports the individual needs and interests of children ages 18 months to grade 8 in a dynamic, hands-on learning environment, with materials and lessons that ignite passion, curiosity, and purpose. The students of Greenspring Montessori School emerge as independent, critical thinkers and productive collaborators, prepared for the future the wish to pursue. Learn more at www.greenspringmontessori.org.
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