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2 min read

Ever wished grocery shopping with your children was easier?

It can be frustrating to have to repeat “Don’t touch that”, “Put that down”, or “No, we can’t get cookies today” throughout your trip.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a parenting trick that kept our children right next to us while we shop and we never heard a peep about the candy at the checkout?

Well I’m here to share… Montessori doesn’t have one.

Montessori nature exploration

Rather a Montessori approach understands that children are natural explorers. They simply cannot resist the urge to touch, pick up, inspect, shake, etc.

The world is still so new and exciting at this age…. and it’s a beautiful thing to watch, just not when we’re grocery shipping. I get it.

The trouble is that we can’t really pick and choose when they’re curious and inquisitive and when they’re not.

We can set limits, give reminders, explain why not to do something… but at the end of the day, a 3 three old will almost always want to see everything up close, feel the weight of it in their little hands, and have a dozen questions to go along with it.

This is a GOOD THING and too many "no's" or "don't touch that's" will eventually discourage their inquisitive nature.

So what can you do?

If possible, the easiest thing to do is not bring them. Don’t put them in situations where you are forcing them to go against their very nature.

But life isn’t perfect. Sometimes we have no help or food for dinner on the same day.

So we can balance these "no" situations with plenty of opportunities to explore freely, like:

Montessori science experiments for toddlers
  • Science experiments - a great time to try things, touch everything, and see what happens.

  • Outdoor time - especially when you can really take your time and give them the opportunity to stop and look at everything. Grab a magnifying glass for even more fun! Just be prepared for a 1 hour, 500m walk :)

  • Setting up a 'yes' space (more for the 2 and under crowd) -  somewhere in the home they can move freely, without obstacles and free from hazards, where they can work independently without you having to hover too closely.

  • Opportunities for maximum effort, a child's inner drive to expend heightened mental or physical energy in order to reach their full potential. This is often why we see our small toddlers trying to pick up water jugs and pumpkins! It's incredibly satisfying for a child to exert maximum effort so it's great to offer up safe opportunities to do this.

  • Sensory play - like science experiments, sensory play is another chance to explore using multiple senses. Play dough, finger painting, and sensory bins are all wonderful sensory activities.

And don't be too hard on yourself. Every parent will put their child in situations that require more self-control than they might be capable of. It's just about balance and empathy for our little ones when we do.