The Montessori floor bed, which is used even for infants, may be the first thing that comes to mind when you visualize a Montessori bedroom, but there’s a lot more to the idea than just the bed. How can you incorporate the Montessori philosophy into your toddler’s bedroom, and what are the benefits?
“A beautiful, organized, and uncluttered environment can help in many ways: dressing and undressing is simplified; the favourite book and toy is always within reach; the child can participate in the life of the family and feels needed; challenging work that focuses the child’s attention and fulfills his needs is always available; a more fun, creative, and peaceful life comes into being for the whole family.”
— The Joyful Child: Montessori Global Wisdom for Birth to Three, by Susan Mayclin Stephenson.
Most children’s rooms could start with a good declutter. Changes can be made gradually. I’ve never seen a perfect Montessori room, so take what works for you.
Here’s how to create a Montessori-friendly sleeping area for your toddler:
- Consider a Montessori bed A floor bed supports your child’s freedom of movement and developing autonomy because your child can get in and out independently. This can be as simple as a mattress on the floor.
- Use a flashlight for a night light You might think of a night light as something that stays on all the time, but darkness is better for good sleep. We currently have the Lovevery flashlight right next to our toddler’s bed, so he can use it if he needs to, but it stays off otherwise. It’s easy to use and not too bright.
- Skip the top sheet We use just a fitted sheet and a toddler sized-quilt on top. This makes it easier for your toddler to practice making their bed.
Set your child up to get dressed on their own:
Developing practical life skills is a core principle of Montessori. Creating opportunities for your toddler to get dressed on their own and care for themselves and their clothing can help build their confidence and independence.
- Make clothing simple and accessible We only put out 3-4 appropriate options at a time for our toddler to choose from. For independent dressing, we keep our toddler’s clothes loose and simple: easy pullover tops, pants with elastic waists, pull on shoes or shoes with velcro. We use a toddler-sized wardrobe, but baskets or low drawers can work well too. We use small toddler-sized hangers and a basket for underwear and socks. A low chair can assist a child when putting on pants or socks.
- Hang a mirror at your child’s level A mirror in the dressing area can help your child check and make sure their clothing is on the right way and they’re ready to go. An easy way to do this is to hang the Lovevery mirror on the wall at your child’s level with a simple hook. You can also put a hairbrush or comb in a basket under the mirror.
- Encourage good habits with a laundry basket A laundry basket near the dressing area can make it easy for your child put away their dirty clothes at the end of the day.
- Hang hooks at your child’s level Low hooks are easier for your child to use than hangers and work well for robes, backpacks, or hats.
Try these tips to arrange a toddler-friendly reading area:
- Create a comfortable reading spot This may be a few cushions on the floor or a soft rug, blanket or a child sized chair.
- Choose a low bookshelf Most Montessori families choose a bookshelf for a young child with forward-facing books, this way the child can see the covers of the books.
- Establish order While I wouldn’t recommend limiting the books your child has access to, remember that your child prefers order. We use a low bookshelf in our toddler’s room for paperbacks and put board books in a basket next to his bed.
- Have a stool next to the light switch My toddler has a small stool next to the light switch so he can independently turn on the room light. Many families use a light switch extender.
Finish with personal touches that make your child’s bedroom their own:
- Incorporate music We love to have a music box for bedtime, and we use a child operated music player. Both are safe to have in the child’s room and can be used independently by the child.
- Display photographs and artwork Hang artwork and photographs at your child’s height so they can view them easily. The child is the focus, so choose artwork that’s meaningful to them.
- Bring the outside in I love to bring as much nature into my children’s spaces as possible. This can be as simple as a small vase of flowers or a Montessori treasure basket full of something like pinecones, rocks, feathers, or shells.
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