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Monday, 24 August 2020

Breakfast - The Montessori Way!

How to have a calm, stress-free breakfast experience, every day! 

Morning guys! 

Have you ever spent the morning trying to do a million things at once with a screaming toddler clinging to your leg? Well, I have! They're hungry, still only half awake and want nothing more than to cling to you as you try to maneuver around the kitchen and prepare their breakfast. 

That was until I decided to involve my son in breakfast preparations, rather than trying to run around and do everything myself. 

This morning, the menu was a simple bowl of cheerios with milk and a cut up banana. I invited Arlo onto his learning tower (if you haven't heard of this before, click here to find out more) and he stood and cut up his banana while I poured the milk and cheerios ready for his breakfast. By doing this, I had given Arlo something to occupy himself with while I completed everything else, resulting in a smooth, stress-free morning! 

When Arlo had finished cutting up his banana, I chopped a few pieces that were still a little big (after all, he is still learning!) and put them into a bowl next to his cheerios and jug of milk. 

I presented Arlo with his breakfast exactly as you see here. I allowed him to pour his own milk (I gave him some kitchen roll to clean up his spills) while I sat and drank my cup of nectar from the gods... sorry, I mean coffee, while he ate away. 

I have to admit, this was a little tricky for me to get to grips with at first. For a start, I was horrified that Arlo always seems to put milk on his banana and eat a few mouthfuls first (see photo below) before mixing the concoction into his cereal. The first time he did this, I was sure he had accidentally spilled the milk into the bananas and would want me to rectify it immediately - but he didn't! In fact, he vehemently shook his head 'no!' when I asked if he needed any help! 
Secondly, I was always apprehensive that there would be a huge mess to clean up. Let me be honest here - some days, there is. Today, he spilled some of his milk onto his tray, but he mopped it up himself using the kitchen roll. However, if his breakfast consists of something like yogurt or porridge, I can very often find myself having to mop the entire kitchen afterwards. The thing to remember, though, is that as he practices more and more, his control becomes so much better and even when he has made a big mess, he has had so much fun and learnt so much from doing it, that I cannot find the energy to care too much. As long as he is happy, so am I. 

My tip here is to keep the messier breakfasts for days I know I will have the time to clean up properly afterwards. If, like me, you work during the week, I can sympathise that there often isn't the time to clean up after a messy breakfast. On these days, I might allow Arlo to butter his own toast instead or stick to milk and cereal, saving breakfasts like fruit and yogurt for the weekends. 

I would also like to point out here that many would argue the true Montessori style would be for Arlo to eat his meals at a low table where he could get in and out at will. For me, this just doesn't work. Firstly, Arlo would likely loose half of his meal to the dog. Secondly, I do not have the space in my kitchen-diner to accommodate another table and chair set. So, I have taught Arlo to put his arms in the air if he wants to get down and I will accommodate that. This gesture indicates he is finished eating and will be let down from the table. His meal time is over. 

Taking the time to share these every day events with your toddler builds a remarkable foundation of respect, caring and engagement. 

If you have prepared anything with your child, drop me a comment or a picture below! 

1 comment:

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