I think most parents can admit that there are particular phases of childhood that we either enjoy more or that we are just plain better at navigating. For me, the baby phase is particularly difficult.
On the other hand, as soon as my children turn 4, the world seems to open up a bit for me and for them.
One thing that has made my life a whole lot easier is making my house child-accessible when it comes to the kitchen, bathroom, and kids bedrooms.
I found the Montessori school for my little ones quite by accident. I had not intentionally studied all the various educational opportunities and philosophies available. We struggled to find a place where my oldest son would thrive. He has a late summer birthday and is, therefore, younger than most of his peers. But he is extremely curious and mature. I searched for an environment that would allow him to play like a kid and learn like a little man. For us, that was Montessori.
The Montessori environment didn’t just stay at school. It changed our home as well.
It encouraged us to make everything accessible to the child no matter how small they are.
As a couple, my husband and I decided that we did not want to baby-proof our homes other than true safety issues. We wanted our children to feel confident and capable to participate in household activities as soon as possible.
Now let me take a moment to say that I am far from perfect at most things when it comes to parenting, but I do feel good about this. It allows our kids to exert their independence while at the same time contribute to the household responsibilities.
That also means we do less running around and serving them day in and day out.
Here are the three key things we have done to make our house accessible for our children:
1. Get your own snack
Hungry? Great – All of the food the children are welcome to enjoy without asking is kept on a pantry or refrigerator shelf easily reachable by all three children.
2. Fix it yourself
Need a cup? A bowl? A spoon? Bowls, cups, and utensils are kept in drawers that are no higher than their shoulder. They can get what they need, leaving me free to have my coffee in peace and offering them a chance to take care of their own needs in the morning! WIN WIN!
3. Bundle yourself up.
Want to go outside and play? Need your shoes? A hat and gloves? Great! Again, there is a basket kept at the kids’ eye level in the mudroom with everything they could need. Sometimes they are up and outside before I’ve even put on mascara. 🙂
Making my house work for me and my family means putting them in charge and giving them the opportunity to see first-hand that they can take care of their most basic needs. This goes a long way in developing and setting our kids up to succeed in junior high and high school when responsibilities seem to pile on heaps at a time!