A Montessori-inspired bathroom can help your child work towards mastering several “care of self” practical life skills, including handwashing, brushing teeth, toileting, and washing their hair and body.
At this age, your two-year-old craves independence and loves to participate in everyday tasks. Preparing your child’s environment with easily accessible supplies empowers them to do things on their own—building their confidence, enhancing their self-esteem, and filling them with a sense of accomplishment ❤️
Montessori spaces in the home are clutter-free, orderly, and beautiful. Preparing your bathroom according to Montessori principles doesn’t mean you have to buy everything mentioned below; instead, consider your child’s needs and begin with some modest rearranging of what you already have.
Here are some ways you can arrange your bathroom to foster your child’s independence the Montessori way:
Sturdy step stool: a tall two-tier step stool allows your child to reach the sink and any supplies stored on the counter. They can also use the stool to switch the light on and off, which is always so exciting at this age 😉
Routine cards: every parent of a two-year-old knows how easily the bedtime routine can get derailed. Routine cards can help your child initiate tasks like brushing their teeth and going to the bathroom, and keep them on track during transitions.
Handwashing: cut a bar of soap in half or choose a soap dispenser that is easy for your child to use. Foam dispensers are fun and offer a delightful little sensory experience, too. Keeping a wash cloth or small hand towel within reach comes in handy for drying hands and wiping up splashes and spills.
Here are some more tips for fostering independent handwashing.
Brushing teeth and hair: store your child’s toothpaste and toothbrush either on the counter or in a drawer your child can reach. If they don’t like brushing their teeth, try providing two different toothpaste flavours to choose from; having a choice can be empowering. A cup is helpful for rinsing their mouth or one last drink of water before bedtime. Provide a child-size hairbrush or comb and limit the number of hair accessories 🙃
Timer: even though your child is years away from truly understanding how time passes, you can still introduce the concept. Set a visual timer for five minutes and say, “the timer will beep in five minutes, and then you’re going to get out of the bath, so I can dry you off.”
Storage: storing wash cloths and towels in a drawer or basket under the sink allows your child to gather what they need for bath time or washing their face. To give them a sense of pride and ownership in their routine, invite your child to help you launder, fold, and put these items away.
Here are more tips for involving your child with laundry.
Potty/Toilet: for toileting independence, provide a potty seat for the toilet with a low step stool, or a potty chair. Ensure that the toilet paper is within reach, and model how to dispense it using slow hands, so your child can follow your movements.
Basket: store books and wipes in a basket. If your toddler is still learning to use the potty, include a change of underwear and clothes.
Mirror: mount a full-length (child safe) acrylic mirror at their level to help promote body awareness and aid in self-dressing.
Washing: travel-size bottles for shampoo and body wash are the perfect size for little hands. Only fill them with as much as they need at a time. A bar of soap can work well, too.
Toys: just as you would in a Montessori play space, limit the number of bath toys available at one time and rotate them to keep your child interested. The Liquid Lab is a fun way to practice pouring and transferring water. The jug is also an ideal tool for rinsing hair 😉
Low hook: mount a low hook, so your child knows where to hang up their towel each time they are done with their bath.
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