I’ve officially fallen off the Nablopomo wagon, but I will still attempt to post more frequently than I usually do. With Thanksgiving coming up, I doubt I would have been able to keep it up anyway.
One of the parenting sites I follow posted this blog post on setting up your toddler’s environment in a Montessori way. I finished feeling guilty because we definitely restrict Monkey’s access to certain areas in our home. It made me wonder how many parents are actually doing things this way.
We keep Monkey completely out of the kitchen using a baby gate. There are two reasons for this:
- The litter box is in there (far from our food prep area – it is next to our washer and dryer at the far end of the kitchen). The thought of him messing about with litter or worse just makes me queasy. Toddlers and litter boxes do not mix. And no, there is no other place in the house for it. Our 2 bathrooms are too tiny to hold one and when we did our remodel, we had a space fashioned specifically to hold the litter box.
- The oven is in there. One of my major Mama paranoias is scalding by pulling a pot of boiling liquid off the stove. Even though Monkey isn’t in there, I am in the habit already of pointing the handle to the inside of the stove.
We also keep him out of our office, but we are readying that room to be Monkey’s room in the coming months, so that will soon be a non-issue. We used to close our bedroom door, too, but he can open it now, so that’s free territory. To put things into perspective so y’all don’t think Monkey is closed off in a single room, he has free reign of the living room, dining room, and entry (and now our bedroom and master bath). He also gets taken out to Monkey-specific activities (park, Gymboree, indoor playroom, swimming when the weather permits) twice a day, and naps for about 1.5-2 hours each day. So he isn’t really “stuck” in one spot for hours and hours.
Still, this post got me thinking about ways in which I might make things more interesting and interactive. I’ve been feeling bad lately, too, that we have no space to do things like set up a water table or more sensory-type activity play areas. We have outgrown our condo, but aren’t going to be moving until DW can get back to working part-time (we’re thinking when Monkey starts pre-school next year).
Do you have your kids shut off from certain areas of your house? How do you handle things like litter boxes or other icky or dangerous items? Any of you living in small spaces able to do the Montessori thing successfully? Inquiring minds want to know…