Loading...Loading...
Discover the secret of childhood from 0-3 year old:

6-12 months

Is that an ‘SUV,’ a ‘Jeep’ or a ‘Hatchback?’

Monday, December 24th, 2012 12:23 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Vehicles on the Road

Ever since B and M could sit up in the stroller by themselves, our daily walks would include identifying everything we see on the streets. It started with stationary things, like “mailbox,” “street lights” and “STOP sign.” Pretty soon, we got into vehicles.

Instead of ‘car,’ I’ll distinguish for them whether a vehicle is an SUV, jeep, hatchback, sports car, convertible, truck, commercial truck, 18-wheeler, school bus or bus. Before they could walk, I didn’t want people overhearing me enunciating “com-mer-cial tr-uuuuck” to 10–month olds, so I always got down to their level and  kept my voice low. When they were 20 months, whenever I emphasized to them that something is a ‘Jeep’ and not an ‘SUV’ (for a time, they called every vehicle an SUV) , I would look around and hope no one overhears me and thinks I’m a crazy mom. But now, when they walk down the streets and name the vehicles correctly, I know my hard work has paid off. When they say things like, “That’s a hatchback. That’s not an SUV,” I find myself clapping – for them and for myself!

Between 0-3, children are at the height of their Sensitive Period for language. I can just hear my Montessori Trainer, Judi Orion, say over and over, “You keep giving them the language and one day, it will come out.”

Collaborating With Your Child

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 12:44 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Daddy Helps Brooke

Most adults just want to do things FOR the child. Why? It’s so much easier than teaching them to do it.

Let’s take cleaning up after meals for instance. You have two choices, you can clean the table for them, that takes about 30 seconds. OR you can have them do it. Then you have to figure out where to put the dirty dishes, how they will wipe the table, where to put the sponge, how they will clean their hands. And then once you’ve got the logistics down, you have to show them how to do it and then enforce it over and over and over and over and over…

One is clearly easier than the other. But one will make you feel like it’s Groundhog’s Day and you are playing the role of the slave, while the other gives your child the opportunity to practice motor skills, develop attention to detail, learn sequencing and give him a sense of independence that lead to happy, secure, confident children.

So you pick.

For those of you courageous and conscientious enough to take the second route, I have a piece of advice. When you are teaching your child to clean up after meals (this really applies to everything, but I’m just using this as an example), collaborate with them. Young children cannot do it all on their own all at once. They will be able to eventually, but it can be overwhelming at this age. So I’ll say, “Let’s clean up together. I’ll put the bowl and the plate  in the dishcart and you put the spoon in the dishcart.” OR “Let’s clean up together. You put this bowl (I’ll pick it up from the table) in the dishcart.” Then I’ll hand them the plate for them to put in the dishcart, the spoon, etc.  As long as they are doing something toward cleaning, that is what you’re looking for. Even if at the end, you feel you did most of the cleaning, if they participated, then you are on the right path. Gradually, over time, you can pull back and they can do more. There will be regression on bad days. If they are tired or cranky, don’t force it. Don’t punish them for not cleaning. Instead, use these words often, “Let’s do it together!” Even if you end up doing most of it that day, let it go. Tomorrow, when they are in a better place, they will do more of it.

I have a lot empathy for little ones. Transitioning from a baby in mama’s arms where everything is done to becoming your own little person – it’s a big transition. If you’re willing to collaborate with them, it’ll make their life –and yours – a little easier.

Our Montessori Home In Baltimore Part III: Where We Get Dressed

Monday, October 22nd, 2012 11:00 am | By Stephanie Woo

At 22 months, Brooke and Mackenzie are finally able to undress and dress themselves completely. They can take off and put on shirts, pants, dresses, socks, shoes and jackets with very little or no help. I have to confess I do help them when I get impatient, which is more often than I’d like to admit! But they’ve demonstrated that given enough time, they can do it all on their own.

I don’t know if your kids are like this, but mine are pretty obsessed with clothing. Since they were six months old, we’ve always kept their clothes on an open, accessible shelf like this. They can come and play with their clothes and shoes as much as they want. They love to watch us get dressed and undressed and doing it themselves. Probably because I’ve given them so much liberty around this, all the practice they’ve gotten has made them very self-sufficient when it comes to clothing. 

Right now, this where they get dressed. You can’t see it in the picture, but this is right next to their work area. Getting dressed and undressing is just as interesting to them as using scissors or reading a book (if not more interesting on some days!).

On the top row, you see socks. They are obsessed with socks. On the second row are shirts and dresses. On the bottom row are pants, training pants and diapers. They are pretty much potty trained, but we do put them in diapers if we are going out for more than an hour or at night. And on the floor are their shoes.

I don’t interfere when they dress themselves. This means, on a weekly basis, you’ll find them wearing their pants backwards, two left shoes (from two different pairs of shoes, usually because they are sharing two pairs of shoes), two different colored socks, underwear over their pants, multiple jackets. etc. I think it’s hilarious, but I don’t correct them. If it doesn’t bother them, then it doesn’t bother me. What’s more important is the fact that they are capable of making decisions and following through on those decisions.

The weather just turned cold here in Baltimore so they are starting to put on jackets. I just installed these hooks on the walls for their jackets two days before this video. This is a good example of how we use this space in our home:

In the next post, I’ll show you a GREAT method for toddlers to put on their own jackets. They can’t do it the way we do it because their arms are too short, but wait till you see this!