We are finally in our new house and have been taking it very slow for the past week. Big changes often come with big emotions and that has certainly been the case this week for both children. It has been particularly challenging for Marley, who didn’t really understand what moving meant until we were in our new house. Every time we turn off the lights to go to sleep, she walks to her new bedroom door and cries to go home. She has lost a small piece of her childhood and she is heartbroken. In time she will grow to see this new place as home, but for now I am giving her all of the space she needs to grieve her loss. I hold her when she is ready and help give her words for her feelings. “It feels hard to be in a new bedroom, you really miss our old house.” When she was inconsolable one night, Camden started a sweet game where he pointed out all of the things that we brought with us from our old house, she repeated each word after he said it. It brought her some comfort, so now we have added it to her bedtime routine. It can be a challenge to handle these big emotions, especially when we are exhausted from moving, but accepting all of her emotions will allow her to work through them and help her feel supported. During some of the more challenging moments, I have taken a moment to really focus on her feelings instead of my desire to get things done while she sleeps. Those few moments have allowed me to shift my mindset from being frustrated that I am going to have to stay up later to unpack to being in awe of this beautiful little human and the depth of her feelings. After all, she is missing the home that I worked so hard to make for her. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: toddlers are amazing, especially when we take time to understand them. 💕
Preparing a meal with both kids is one of my favorite things to do. Initially I thought that cooking with them both at once would be challenging, but it has turned into a wonderful bonding experience for the kids. Camden has stepped into the role of a teacher who is willing to slow down and show Marley what to do. He is patient and so proud of her success, while she is so happy to work along side him and feel included. This is not always an easy relationship for them to navigate, so I love giving them the chance to experience working as a team. ✨
Pizza is one of my favorite toddler friendly recipes! They are making BBQ chicken pizza from @gomethodology, yum! 🍕
Spring is the perfect time of year to have a young toddler (19 months) who can’t get enough of flower arranging! 🌸 This is a wonderful activity because it is easy to grow with with even the youngest toddlers. I love seeing how far she’s come since the first video I posted when she was 16 months. •
Don’t forget to check out The Montessori Guide, co-created with @montessoriinreallife. We now offer guides from birth to 20 months! Each guide contains six activities to do with your child, with product recommendations, a description of the benefits for your child and a detailed description of how to introduce the activity to your child. Let us help you guide your child. 🌷
Thank you so much for your ongoing support of The Montessori Guide! We are excited to announce that we have added three additional months to The Montessori Guide! You can now purchase guides for your infants and toddlers from birth to 20 months. Purchase a single guide or a package - link in profile! 🌸
For our new followers, Theresa (from @montessoriinreallife) and I have recently created a month-by-month guide, each month including six suggestions for Montessori materials and activities based on your child’s age. All of the monthly guide’s suggested activities are aimed at encouraging your child’s fine motor, gross motor, language, and practical life skills. Each activity includes a link to buy or instructions to DIY, a description of the benefits for your child, and a detailed explanation of how to present the material. ✨Check out The Montessori Guide - link in profile!✨
Starting your child off with a balance bike makes the transition to two wheels so easy!🚲 This video shows Camden’s progressionwoth his bike over the past few years. First at 18 months he started walking it, learning how to get on and off and steer. Around 26 months he started running with it, then at almost 3 he started gliding. We bought him the pedal bike last summer and he wasn’t very interested, so we took off the pedals and let him get used to the bigger frame and hand breaks. Then two days ago, he announced that he was ready for pedals and within 30 minutes he was zooming around like he had always been riding that way. I can not believe how easy the transition was for him once he decided he was ready! I’m so happy with our decision to skip training wheels and letting him learn to balance first. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of watching your child do something new for the first time, is there? 💛💛💛
Marley loves, loves, loves to make eggs for breakfast! 🥚 When Camden was small, he figured out that it was easier to crack eggs one handed. Whenever we bake, cracking eggs is always the most desired job and as a result I rarely ever do it, so Marley learned his one handed trick. We’ve actually found that hardly any shell gets into the bowl using this method. Who would have thought? I don’t even crack eggs that way, but I sure love to watch them do it! 🍳 (Also, I cant get over how proud Camden is of his little sister. 🥰)
“Hands behind your back” is one trick I use to help one child observe the other without interfering. I also use it when I’m using a sharp knife or something else dangerous in the kitchen. *
All hands and surfaces were washed immediately after this video was filmed. 😉✨
Setting the table for two is a new skill for Marley! When she was first learning to set her places, she would usually do it in parallel with her big brother. But when she started taking out two of everything, he oh so very graciously decided to let her set the table for both of them. 😉 As a side note, the effort I put in to helping my first Montessori child learn these skills has absolutely paid off now that my second child is learning directly from him. She wants to do everything he does, which is especially lovely when it comes to helping around the house. 🌷
(Usually Camden serves water for both of them, so he filled the pitcher all the way. If it was just her, we would use a smaller pitcher or fill it less so the water wouldn’t overfill the glass. I wasn’t surprised by the spill, but we are a very spill friendly house and I appreciate the opportunity she has to clean it up. 🧽 See my stories for that clip!) •
Table by @sprout_kids, my placemat design is available from @sosuzette 🍽
It is no secret that toddlers have BIG emotions. From the time that my children were babies, I have always used descriptive language to help them label their feelings so that they can learn to express themselves in words. Recently (at 18 months) Marley has show a lot of interest in the feelings of other children, especially when they are feeling upset. I wanted to give her some practice reading facial cues and give her some more language around feelings, so I was very happy when I found these beautiful cards by @montessori_123. We’ve been talking a lot about how the children in the photos are feeling and they also come with a chart that she can use to match the cards later. This morning she absolutely blew me away when I introduced the mad card and she said “angry!” I also loved watching her comfort the sad baby. Giving her these tools to express her feelings from an early age will definitely be helpful in the future!
I love Montessori place setting placemats 🍽. They help small children learn how to set the table independently and help bring a sense of order to the dining table. After a few years of trying out different fabric combinations, I finally found the perfect combination. Outdoor fabric on the top, which is water and mold resistant, and non-slip rubber fabric on the bottom that helps hold the mat in place. I took a picture of each step of the process for anyone interested in creating their own. First I trace the place setting onto the top with an embroidery pen and then embroider the outline with a chain stitch. Next, I sew the back to the front (right sides together, leaving an opening to reverse the mat.) Then I do an outline stitch and it’s done! I shared my design with my favorite seamstress @sosuzette and she has listed them in her shop! My kids use these placemats at every meal. We love them so much! 💛
One of my strongest beliefs is that children should be invited to be active participants in their lives. I try to engage Marley whenever possible so that she is a part of what is happening, especially when something requires her participation like a haircut. To prepare her before hand, we talked about exactly what would happen during the haircut. I told her how her hair would be sprayed with water and brushed and then how it would be cut with scissors. She’s a second child, so she’s seen this before with her brother (who was very nervous about his fist cut, read more about how we handled that on my blog!) Instead of going to a shop that distracts children from the haircut, we went to a sweet little shop that involves children in the process. Marley was so interested in the whole process. I helped talk her through it as the cut was happening and asked the stylist to make tell Marley what she was going to do next, so that she wasn’t surprised. This little one is a constant-on-the-go-always-all-the-time-mover, but she sat still and watched the entire 20 minute cut with wide eyes and a smile because she felt involved and prepared. Sometimes all it takes is a few conversations to help these new experiences go smoothly! ✂️
Thank you all so much for your enthusiasm and support for our launch of The Montessori Guide! 💛 Based on your feedback and interest, Theresa from @montessoriinreallife and I are excited to offer discounted packages of our monthly guides! Unlike the subscription, you will receive a set of guides bundled. This will allow you to see and compare guides earlier or later than your child’s current age for additional ideas, and to plan ahead. We will also continue to sell single guides for ages 0 to 18 months that you can buy at your own pace. *
Additionally, we have added more DIY and affordable options to our guides! We hope to continue to add content and ages in the near future. Click the link in my profile to purchase single guides or a 6- or 12-month package, and start incorporating Montessori ideas at home today!
This morning I converted a wrap into a sling for a friend and used the leftover tail fabric to make a little sling for Marley. I’ve worn her in a sling since she was teeny tiny. It’s perfect for quick carries and amazing for both newborn and toddler snuggles. Now that she’s bigger, the sling is still her home base when she is tired and we are out and about. She loves having her own sling and hasn’t taken it off since I gave it to her. 😍😍😍
✨Giveaway! ✨ Theresa (@montessoriinreallife) and I are excited to celebrate our launch of The Montessori Guide with a giveaway from two of our favorite shops, @sprout_kids and @Heirloomkids! •
1. Click the link in my profile.
2. Sign up with your email address.
That's it! Enter before Friday at midnight for a chance to win a six month package from The Montessori Guide, a Sprout infant shelf, and a ball cylinder from Heir+Loom Kids! •
This giveaway is not sponsored by Instagram in any way. Must be 21 or older to enter. Shipping to US only. Giveaway ends Friday, March 8th at midnight. Winner will be announced Saturday, March 9th!
Here’s a little peak at Marley’s space in our rented office. This is where we spend time for a few hours each day while Camden is at school. It gives her some time to work independently and gives us both a break from long car rides to and from school. Last week, I hung some beautiful paintings of our two sweet dogs (by @breyna_artist) at Marley’s height. She has been absolutely captivated by them, going back and forth naming the dogs and pointing out their features. We have low hanging art in other areas, but she’s never given any of the other pieces this much attention before. Her personal connection to these paintings has really drawn her focus to art in a new way. Now that I can see how much she enjoys looking at our pups, I’m going to hang a few other family photos at her height. (These frames are child safe: plexiglass and hung with command strips!)
Montessori at home is better with friends! After our girls were born, Theresa from @montessoriinreallife started spending a lot of time together. Over the past year and a half, we have spent so much time taking about how we use Montessori at home and bouncing ideas off of each other. Each time we met, our conversation always turned to how we wanted to making using Montessori at home more accessible. After months of hard work, we are so excited to present The Montessori Guide, a monthly subscription series that simplifies using Montessori at home. Let us help you guide your child. Each monthly guide has six different activities you can do with your child. Each activity comes with a product recommendation, a description of the benefits for your child and a detailed description of how to present the activity to your child. We are so unbelievably thankful for the huge interest in the guide so far. If you haven’t already, follow the link in my profile to learn more!
Theresa (from @montessoriinreallife) and I are excited to launch The Montessori Guide: a simple way to incorporate Montessori into your home, month by month!
The Montessori Guide is a month-by-month guide, each month including six suggestions for Montessori materials and activities based on your child’s age, ranging from birth to 18 months. All of the monthly guide’s suggested activities are aimed at encouraging your child’s fine motor, gross motor, language, and practical life skills. Each activity includes a link to a recommended product (or DIY instructions), a description of the benefits for your child, and a detailed explanation of how to present the material. •
Try one month at a time or subscribe to receive The Montessori Guide each month. Sign up today to receive your first guide by March 2nd. Learn more on our websites - link in profile!
Marley’s new favorite thing to do is put on her coat! I love the up and over technique for toddlers. It is simple, fun and the easiest method I’ve found for little ones to put on their coat independently. Now at 18 months, she is able to get ready to head outside herself and is SO proud. Love that huge “I did it myself!” smile. 😀
After a week without a water station, Marley was so happy to have access to water again! She spent all morning watering the plant and serving herself water (second half of the video). Keeping the watering can and plant close to the water station is an excellent way to redirect her when she wants to run the water just for fun. I love to see how confident she is in her movements now (and those little pigtails 😍😍😍.)
At 17 months, Marley loves to vacuum. This is a real vacuum, so she is actually helping keep our house clean. This little vacuum is loved by all children who come to play at our house. Almost every child who comes over asks to use it, which I love because we have two chocolate labs and the dog hair is endless. We recently had some friends over who said that their children didn’t like to clean. They couldn’t believe when the three four year old boys ignored the legos and cars and took turns vacuuming, sweeping and dusting. Children love taking part in the work of the home. They are drawn to tasks that seem like chores to us. Vacuuming, sweeping, pouring and wiping are a good place to start for even the youngest children. At 17 months, Marley is learning to push the vacuum. She spent most of her time in one corner and spent a good amount of time exploring the vacuum. I don’t expect her to clean the whole rug, that will come with time. For now, this is all about the process not the final product (and is so much fun to watch!)
As I looked in the cupboard this morning for something to make for breakfast, I was interrupted by both of my children screaming at each other while holding on to the same toy. I wearily wondered how I was going to get breakfast on the table and then realized that I just needed to get everyone involved. Instead of trying to stay calm and juggle cooking with keeping the peace, we baked a coffee cake and it was pure magic. The kids worked peacefully side by side, Marley (17 months) learned how to crack an egg and grease a pan from her big brother Camden (4 years.) I mainly stood back and watched them work with a heart that was overflowing with pride. Including them turned our morning around gave them practice working together. When we share the highlights of our day at dinner tonight, this will definitely be it! 💛
For more fun with kids in the kitchen, check out the kickstarter by @pepperandparsley. They’ve written the most beautiful Montessori inspired story cookbook for children. Let’s help them get funded!