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2 min read

Montessori offers plenty of wonderful kitchen tools to foster independence, like a Learning Tower or child-sized kitchen tools, BUT not everyone has the space or budget for these materials.

Luckily, one of the easiest ways to encourage independence in the kitchen is free - just choose a low drawer or cupboard that your child can access independently and add their cutlery, plates, and glasses.

This gives your child the opportunity to: 

  • get their own glass when they're thirsty/get a plate for their snacks
  • set their own place at the table
  • care for their own dishware
  • have a place in the kitchen that's 'just theirs'
This doesn't have to be a fancy setup, just simple, organized, and easy to access.You can see in the picture what the one at our house looks like.You can also see that I included:
  • their knifes and other kitchen tools
  • a small pitcher for pouring
  • water bottles
  • a small basket of face cloths

 "Help Me to Help Myself"

There's a well known mantra in the Montessori community - "help me to do it by myself" or "help me to help myself".This simply means that teachers, guides, and parents look for ways to support a child's natural drive towards independence.

For example: 

  • if your child has a cold and regularly needs to blow their nose, put the tissue box in a spot they can access it, along with a garbage bin near by.
  • if your child can now put on and take off their coat, set up a low coat hook for them to hang it.
  • if your child is interested in helping with food prep, find a job that matches their skill and capabilities (young children can mash and mix, while older children can chop and measure).
  • if your child wants to put on their own shoes, offer a low chair or bench with a boot mat nearby for their shoes.

There's no 'right' way you have to do this and it doesn't have to be perfect. Just think about situations where your child regularly needs assistance and then consider how you might help them do it independently.

Taking It One Step Further

If you feel comfortable offering more independence around snacks, you can also set up a low cupboard or shelf in the fridge with snacks that are ready to eat.You probably don't want to offer access to all the snacks because most children still need guidance on eating a balanced diet......BUT easy access to healthy snacks, like fruits, vegetables, squeeze pouches, etc gives your child the opportunity to listen to and follow their hunger cues.In the same space, you can also add a small pitcher of water so that your child can also pour their own drink and follow their cues for thirst.