A few weeks ago Hen started preschool at the local Montessori School. He goes 5 days a week for ½ a day.
We decided to start him in school at age 2 for a few reasons:
-he doesn’t get to socialize with other kids when he is home with Josh
-he’s bored and that bored energy usually comes out as naughty energy
- we wanted him to have some routine that’s just for him, no Copley to compete with
-Josh stays home with the kids, but he also runs the successful Web design firm, Boys From Jupiter. This gives him a little more time during the day to focus on work.
We decided to “Montessori-ize” our home when Hen started school, so we could continue the Montessori principles at home. It’s been… to say it’s been a success is to understate it. It has been a game changer.
The first thing we did was make a few small changes to Hen’s room. We installed a second, Henry height closet rod so Henry could pick his own clothes for the day.
We also took the opportunity to do a small revamp to Henry’s room. It’s one room we haven’t rehabbed yet, and it’s one room that needs a lot of work. We can’t afford to have the whole room dry walled right now, but we could afford to finish stripping the horrid wallpaper (you can see it in the hallway) off his ceiling and give it a bright fresh coat of paint.
Replace a few burnt out lightbulbs, throw in (and secure! Don’t forget to secure furniture when you have toddlers!) a Henry sized book case, and we got Hen this little tent from Ikea on our last trip, He loses his mind every time we walk past this thing, and now that it’s in his room… oh man I love this tent. He calls it his “party” (toddlers, am I right?) and he loves to sit in there with a pillow and read books.
Let me be clear. He loves to sit QUIETLY and read BY HIMSELF. Best $20 I’ve ever spent, EVER!
Is the tent “Montessori”? No. Do I care? Can I get a hell no!
We are also leaving him in his crib for now because “if it ‘aint broke, don’t fix it.”
The second and MUCH bigger thing we did was a major playroom overhaul. Oh my, can I tell you how nice it is to have a playroom?! We have an old house with a weird little layout. Two of the bedrooms are on the first floor. This is weird for bedrooms, but absolutely perfect for a playroom. Kitchen and living room adjacent, he can go play and still be within ear shot. Love it.
What I didn’t like was the mess. The huge mess. The huge out of control mess.
Henry was the only grandchild on both sides. The well meaning grandparents went… a little nuts. Too many toys, and picking up toys was never something we could make click for Henry.
I went alone to parent orientation night. I watched a couple of the kids who came with their parents (Hen was at home asleep) go to the shelves. Pick out a toy. Play with it. And then put the toy back on the shelf.
That weekend Josh and I sent Hen to stay at Grandma’s house for the night and got to work. We sorted all the toys into three bins too young (save for Cop), just right, and too old. We picked 8 toys or activities to keep in the room. Everything else went in the basement.
Henry came home from Grandmas, went to bed, got up and went to school, got home from school and ran to the play room and then…
Instead of pitching a fit because all of his toys were gone, he went to the shelves. Picked out a toy. Played with it. And then put the toy back on the shelf.
And he’s been doing that ever since.
Life changing. No more toys all over the house. No more battles over putting his toys away. When he gets bored and stops playing with one of his toys or activities, I switch it out for a new one.
These low tech toys hold his attention much longer than the light-up-noise-makers ever did.