What’s inside: Six easy-to-incorporate elements to create a Montessori toddler room
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With baby number two on the way, it became time to think about what we wanted in a bedroom for our two year old. EJ is active and energetic, so I wanted to create a room where he was free to explore and learn independently. A Montessori toddler room seemed like a natural fit. The goal of a Montessori space is to foster growth and independence in children.
According to its founder, Maria Montessori, “We must give the child an environment that he can utilize by himself.” Here are six easy ways you can incorporate the Montessori approach to your own child’s space to help foster independence and responsibility.
Montessori Toddler Room Resource Guide
MY FAVORITE PRODUCTS
Low hanging shelves– perfect for storing books!
Toddler grooming station– a sweet little child self-care set for teaching about personal hygiene.
Chalkboard– we bought our chalkboard at an antique mall, but this one looks like it would do the trick & could be easily customized.
Baskets– you can never have too many baskets to help children organize their toys and belongings.
Command picture hanging strips– these are the best invention ever! Perfect for hanging items when you don’t want to put holes in your walls!
Furniture anchors– these furniture anchors are serious, which is exactly what you need when safety is the highest priority. You can never bee too careful with your babies!
Decorative Hooks– gives kids an easy place to hang their coats, bags, or bathrobe.
Toddler bed– this toddler bed is perfect for little sleepers transitioning out of a crib!
Wilderness crib sheets– adorable sheets for your little animal!
Child armchair– add this near a bookshelf for a cozy little reading nook!
Child closet hangers– nonslip hangers for little ones to help dress themselves
Hamper– this hamper is too cute- and it comes in tons of different prints to match your decor!
Open-ended toys– these toys encourage open-ended play and creativity. They’re simple in design and high in engagement!
Six Elements of a Montessori Toddler Room
Child safe space
One of the biggest elements of a Montessori toddler room is that the entire space is child-friendly. Everything is within the child’s reach and use. As a result, it’s critical to ensure that the room is safe to explore. Utilize outlet covers, anchor furniture pieces to the wall, and tuck all cords. Creating a safe space is the first step to making the room child-friendly. When a room is safe, you can allow your child the freedom to explore it independently without worry.
Hang pictures, shelves, and mirrors low and at your child’s level in a Montessori toddler room. Place a mirror next to their bed so that they can see themselves and interact with their reflection. Low hanging shelves can store their books for easy use. Other options include chalkboards, magnet boards, or clips to hang artwork and photos. Hang a small mirror and basket on the wall or side of a dresser to provide a place for personal grooming.
Note: I knew it was important to hang room elements in reach of EJ, but I was also not a fan of putting a bunch of low holes in the walls of his newly painted room, knowing that down the road I would have to raise those things as he grew taller. So, instead of hanging things with nails and anchors, we used these Command picture hanging strips. They worked like a charm to hang everything, and when I have to adjust them down the road, I will be so thankful not to have to drag out spackling and paint!
A big component of a Montessori toddler room is the floor bed. By placing the bed directly on the floor, you provide a safe space that is easy for your child to enter and exit. A crib confines a child and reduces their independence. Switching to a floor bed allows your child the freedom to enter and exit the bed on their own.
If you don’t want to place the mattress directly on the floor, a low lying toddler bed is also a good choice. The key is to ensure that the bed is still something that your child can climb into and out of without assistance. If your child is still very young, a mattress placed directly on the floor might still be your best choice.
Of course, switching up your child’s sleeping arrangement does take some consideration. A floor bed is a great choice for some kids, but it might not work for all. Our kiddo has been a great sleeper in his crib. He still sleeps about 12 hours a night and 2-3 hours in the afternoon. With a new baby on the way, we decided it is a good time to transition to a big boy bed. Time will tell if this decision is a good one for our son at this stage of his development.
If it seems to cause sleep issues or regression after an appropriate transition time, we are comfortable with switching him back into his crib for a while longer. Currently, we are breaking him in slowly, offering the toddler bed for naps and nighttime sleep, but not forcing him to stay in that bed if he wants to move back to his crib. So far he has successfully napped several times in his new bed and slept in it overnight once.
Child-sized furniture provides spaces for your little one to work and relax, which builds independence. EJ was gifted a child’s armchair from his grandma last Christmas, so it has been a great addition to his new room. He enjoys grabbing books out of his new bookcase and reading them in his chair. He’s also getting a kick out of hopping in and out of his new bed!
https://amzn.to/3uQgixOSimilar to furniture, the storage systems you incorporate into a Montessori toddler room should be kid-friendly and accessible. Hang bookshelves low so that books can be viewed and returned. Place toys where your kiddo can access them and return them to their proper place. Use lower drawers in a small dresser or baskets for clothing so your child can select his or her own outfits. Hang closet organizers low so that kids can select their own clothes from the hangers. Select some hooks and place them low for jackets, bags, or towels.
Note: If you’d like your toddler to begin dressing his/herself, but are afraid of the wardrobe combinations they’ll create, I have the solution! Discover how creating a capsule wardrobe for kids will simplify mornings and foster independence in your child!
Choosing storage options that are accessible allows for your child to develop responsibility by giving them a space they can care for. They can access toys during playtime and can return them to their proper places without assistance. Books can be viewed and then returned to their space. Dirty laundry can be collected in a hamper and jackets can be hung when returning home.
We created this toy box bookcase combination to serve as functional storage that will grow with EJ as he ages. It’s a bit tall for his current needs, but Ryan wanted to ensure it was a piece that would last and serve as storage space for years to come. If you love this piece as much as we do, check out our toy box plans and create one for your little one!
Open-ended toys (no electronics)
The toys you incorporate into a Montessori toddler room should be open-ended and not battery powered. The goal is to create a room that is both restful and engaging. A spot where your child is able to play creatively and imaginatively, yet also feel comfortable to wind down and relax for sleep.
Open-ended toys allow children to engage in imaginative play as they settle down for rest. Electronic toys are often too stimulating for this type of space. Save those talking toys and noisemakers for the playroom.
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Benefits of a Montessori Style Toddler Room
Perhaps the biggest benefit of a Montessori toddler room is that it promotes simplicity. Since the room should be child-safe and child-centered, it naturally lends itself to minimal contents. We moved our office into another bedroom to create EJ’s Montessori style toddler room, so we emptied the room before decluttering. Like an artist painting a masterpiece, I always feel inspired when I am staring at an empty room. It’s a blank slate that allows my creativity to flow.
Emptying the room first made painting a dream. It also made it easier to build the room from scratch. If you are working in a room that is already established, start by decluttering and removing items that do not fit the Montessori elements. This process will organically sift many items out. When only elements that match the Montessori approach are left, it will be easier to curate the space you are envisioning.
Imaginations are inspired in a Montessori toddler room. By giving your child a space that is safe, inviting, and geared toward them, they are free to exercise their imagination without interruption. In this space, they can foster their creativity.
With carefully curated open-ended toys, your child will have opportunities to be creative in their play. We added a chalkboard to EJ’s room and that has been a great way to inspire imagination as well! He loves to draw and is always creating something on his chalkboard.
Independence & Responsibility
A Montessori inspired toddler room fosters independence and responsibility. The area is completely available to the child to explore and learn, creating a safe space to exercise independence.
Since the furniture and storage are accessible, a child can develop responsibility for his or her belongings by returning them to their proper places. As Maria Montessori advised, we should “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”
By creating a room that fosters responsibility, we are giving our children a place to develop confidence- a place where they can be independent and responsible for accomplishing tasks for themselves.
Give a Montessori style room a try!
A little intentional thinking and planning can help you easily design a Montessori inspired toddler room that will foster independence, imagination, and responsibility in your child.
Incorporating these six elements will have you well on your way to developing a room that your child will enjoy and thrive in.
Of course, these principles don’t just apply to a bedroom. Consider adding a Montessori area to your living room or creating a Montessori playroom.
Have you given the Montessori style a try in your child’s room? Drop your pictures and comments below to share your journey with us!