Tools to create an environment that fuels independence for a lifetime.
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Our darling Scarlett is 2.5 years old and absolutely amazes me. I am the youngest in my family and haven’t really been around children much so I don’t know what they can and can’t do at certain ages but Scarlett can do so much more then I originally gave her credit for.
Sure, she has her moments of “Mom, bottle” and expects me to get her sippy cup that is two feet away from her but we all have those moments! For the most part Scarlett wants and expects to be independent. For the longest time her motto was, “I do it!” and she would certainly tell us to back off and not help her.
I loved that she was little Ms. Independent and wanted to encourage her and help her be as independent as she could be. Not only does she enjoy doing things on her own but the sense of accomplishment it gives her is so wonderful to see and will only help her confidence grow.
I am not one for formal or structured play at home, that is just too overwhelming for me as a parent to administer so I really gravitate towards Montessori. I know there is a lot more to Montessori but the essential vibe I get from it is being very practical and letting your child learn hands on and fabricating an environment to be able to do that.
Here are my top 5 essentials that I have found help Scarlett to be independent and in turn, learn so much!
Automatic Soap Dispenser– We were using a pump hand soap dispenser and it was too difficult for Scarlett to try and use the pump. It was hard for her to reach it on the sink AND press down on the pump at the same time. I found this awesome and affordable automatic soap dispenser. It is rechargeable using a USB cord and you can use any hand soap (without beads) in it and it turns it to foam! I have had this for about a month and had to charge it once and re-fill it with soap but definitely not a big deal to do. Scarlett now loooves washing her hands, to the point that we have to watch her or she’ll just stand there and play! But, it helps her get plenty of soap without wasting it because the ratio is 1/3 soap to 2/3 water and her hands are the cleanest they have ever been and with a pandemic going on I am all for clean hands!
Step Stool– This one may be a classic and obvious but it amazes me how much Scarlett enjoys her little stool. We have one similar to this. My sister-in-law gifted Scarlett a stool very similar to this in size and material. The only real difference is this one is solid. Scarlett’s is more open on the bottom which is where she likes to wrap her arms around it and cart it from place to place. It isn’t up very high but makes a world of difference for her to wash her hands, brush her teeth AND it’s light enough she can pick it up take it into her play kitchen and use it there too, or our refrigerator, or the counter… you get the idea.
3M Hooks– I made a “Mud Corner” (read about that here: Corralling the Coats- Creating a “Mud Corner”) this past winter to hang up our coats and of course I made it taller for adult coats. Well, that doesn’t work so well for a 30 some inch baby. I LOVE 3M hooks and use them everywhere! These are perfect to place where they are convenient for little hands to hang up their coats when we get into the house and for her to grab and go on her own in the morning.
Booster Seat– I had the realization about a month ago that it is probably time to get Scarlett out of her high chair. I was so excited to see her have her own spot at the table, it seems like such an integral part of being part of a family to have your specified seat that you call dibs on at the dinner table. I was so excited to get her a big girl seat at the table that I ordered this awesome booster seat and then it hit me, she won’t be a baby anymore in her high chair. Coby had the same reaction and we both sulked together in the realization that our cute little munchkin isn’t such a baby anymore. Luckily, her excitement for this seat makes up for the sadness! This seat was highly recommended on Amazon and I can see why. I literally had it strapped to the chair and ready to go within minutes, I think it took longer to get it out of the box! It wipes down like a dream and the seatbelt straps that are recommended for younger kids can easily be tucked away for bigger toddlers who don’t necessarily need that extra safety feature. Scarlett loves this seat and can easily get in and out on her own. The only, drawback is there is an opening in the middle of the seat that food drops into. Just wiping down the chair doesn’t remove this so I either take the vacuum to it or remove the outer part of the cover and wipe it all down every once in awhile. It isn’t a big deal but something to note.
Potty Chair– Scarlett decided that quarantine was a great time to potty train. It truly was the perfect time because we were always home BUT, when you’re working from home and potty training, it can get interesting! I have never been a fan of the little potty chairs that sit on the floor that have to be cleaned out after each use, I have to do that with the cats litter box, I don’t want to do it for my child too. I found this awesome stepstool/potty chair combo on Amazon. I love that it uses your plumbed-in toilet so there’s no extra clean up involved for the parent, just flush! We usually leave it on the toilet and only move it when we need to use the restroom and replace it for her so it is always ready and she can run in and use the bathroom independently whenever she needs to and I don’t have to follow her in to clean it!
Not a Product But Also Very Important to Independence
Space and TIME to Run and Explore- As I have said before, I am not one for scheduled or planned activities for kids. While those things have a time and a place I am all about letting Scarlett run wild, explore in the pasture by picking up a walnut and saying it looks like an owl or getting her tiny finger pricked by a thorn or falling on her cute tush because that steadfast apple that didn’t want to be plucked from the tree finally came loose. Along with this I must add that I do watch her closely, according to my husband it’s a little too close but she is a quick little thing and can disappear in an instant. I try and merely observe and not interfere unless safety demands it.
We are all trying to do what is best for our little ones while making our lives a little easier too! I hope this helps give you some ideas on how to make that happen!