Montessori Toddler Wardrobe- Everything that you need to Know
A Montessori wardrobe is a minimalist and child sized wardrobe designed to make your child independent and self-reliant. If you have been struggling to get your child dressed for the day or have been overwhelmed by the number of clothing options available and unsure how to organize your child’s clothing, then the Montessori wardrobe is what your home
The prepared environment is at the core of the Montessori philosophy - which means to create an environment with the child’s needs, interests, and capabilities in mind. In the home environment, preparation looks like a designated shelf for the child’s toys and activities, a book corner with a bookshelf for their books, a table and chair for them to work and making other areas accessible to the child. The Montessori Wardrobe is an essential part of the child’s prepared environment at home as it promotes the idea of independence, order, and choice.
Why does your child need their own wardrobe?
- Just like the Montessori Shelf, the wardrobe serves as a designated space for your child to keep their clothing and related accessories.
- When their things are accessible to them, it aids in the development of independence.
- The wardrobe gives your child the freedom to make a choice but within the limits of the choices you’ve put out for them.
- The wardrobe makes it easy for them to practice the essential life skills of dressing and undressing.
- The wardrobe is designed to serve as visual reminder of what goes where, thereby help your child to put their own things back.
- As the wardrobe is at their height, it encourages them to take responsibility for organizing and keep things in order as well.
- The wardrobe encourages your child to develop their own sense of style and fashion which are essential tools of self-expression.
- Maintaining a wardrobe involves several activities like folding clothes and putting them in, hanging clothes on the hanger, taking them off the hanger – these activities are great to develop fine and gross motor skills, and coordination.
- Letting your child manage their own wardrobe also shows them that you trust them and respect them.
- Taking care of their own needs develops a sense of self- confidence and increases your child’s self-esteem.
Here are some tips on how to get Started
- Put out only a few options of clothing that are appropriate for the season and weather. Store the rest away and out of sight – take those out only when the occasion arises. This simple thing will save you from a lot of tantrums and power struggles.
- Make sure that the clothing choices offered is an aid to independence and not an obstacle. Shorts with elastic and simple t-shirts with big neck holes are the best to begin with. Clothing that is tight and has fastenings like zippers and buttons are harder for children to navigate and wear on their own – they will certainly learn those skills as well but will need more time and practice.
- Don’t expect your child to start dressing themselves from the first day of introducing their own wardrobe. It is a skill that they need to learn, and it requires plenty of practice.
- In the beginning you will have to help more and slowly you can withdraw help as they learn to do more for themselves. Teach them to ask for help whenever required.
- Show them slowly and intentionally- where does laundry go, how to hang up clothes to dry, how to fold their clothes and where does each kind of clothing go in the wardrobe. Once may not be enough and you may have to show and remind them multiple times before they internalize the process.
- Be patient and don’t rush them. Don’t stand around hovering and watching them, give them some time to figure it out and then step in only when required.
Remember that as with all Montessori materials, we never force a child or put any undue pressure on them to start using the wardrobe. We set it up in an inviting manner, show them how to use it and let them go it at their own time and pace. When you give your child the gift of the Montessori Wardrobe, you also give them the tools to become capable and live up to their potential. You set the foundation for an adult who is self- sufficient with the ability both to take of themselves and others around them.