Adventures in Independence or How My 5 Year Old Can Do Her Own Laundry

Confession Time: I didn’t do my own laundry until I was in college and even then it was only if I couldn’t get home for over a month. I didn’t even know how to do my laundry, I faked it and hoped for the best. I ruined a lot of clothes that way. I also didn’t get my own oil changed until 23, despite having a car since 16. So needless to say, I was not the model of independence. I relied far too much on my parents, especially my dad.

For all of the above reasons, I have been slowly increasing the amount of independence I give my kids. First came the food independence surrounding meal times then came personal upkeep. I don’t want to call them “chores” because I haven’t really assigned them to my kids and they sure as heck are not getting paid to do them, but I can see how some people might call them “chores”. The kids now unload their dishes from the dishwasher daily which was a painless transition from “Come help Mommy unload the dishwasher” to “Please, put your dishes away.”

Laundry started mildly enough, we practiced loading the washing machine, how to add soap, and which buttons to push. With my now 5 year old daughter I was playing a supporting role until recently, now I just watch so nothing gets too out of control. She also puts the clothes in the dryer and takes them out. We are still working on folding and hanging up her clothes, though she is responsible for putting them away even if I fold them. I am looking into getting this the FlipFold Jr. to help both my kids better fold their clothes neatly. I use the big one for my husband and I’s T-Shirts and I love it!

My son, now 3, also loves to help both me and his big sister. For his laundry he is responsible for putting the clothes in the washer, counting the pumps of detergent, and pushing the buttons I tell him to.

Our next big project is to revamp the kids’ closets to better facilitate putting away their own clothes and getting dressed even more independently. Stay tuned for that!

My daughter, with the help of her little brother, loading the washer. Of course, having a front loader is pretty clutch for this type of independence.

My daughter, with the help of her little brother, loading the washer. Of course, having a front loader is pretty clutch for this type of independence.

Dear Santa: A Montessori Wish List

Although I typically hold fast to the notion of one holiday at a time, I couldn’t help  browsing all the great Montessori-friendly gift ideas out there for kids. I am happy that even before starting this intentional journey I held Montessori type beliefs regarding toys. I despise toys that do too much, make too much noise, and we typically avoid anything that needs batteries.

So, after a little pre-Thanksgiving research I have come up with my little wish-list for the little ones that gels with our parenting philosophy without losing any of the joy or awesomeness of Christmas toys. My children are 5 and almost 3 so it is great that there is a lot of overlap in what would interest them.

  • Melissa and Doug toys! I am particularly eyeing these transportation themed ones for my son: the Car Carrier Wooden Truck and the Whittle Wood Airplane set. 
  • Also from Melissa and Doug is this great See and Spell Learning Game! It is great for both kids and the letters can be used for spelling words not on the boards.
  • This Spring we plan on tackling a vegetable garden for the third year and I really want the kids to get into the action, so I am spotted these great  tools from For Small Hands.
  • My kids love the yoga video Yoga Motion by Namaste Kids but use my adult size mat when doing it. I have been on the lookout for kids’ yoga mats for awhile and these from Lazy Lizard seem to be the cutest and most functional!
  • I am totally bummed that this next item won’t be ready until early 2013, but Goldie Blox will definitely be on our to-buy list for my daughter.

What other great Montessori inspired toys or activities have you found?

Gearing Up for Kids in the Kitchen

I have been reading this amazing book written by some awesome Montessori advocates and moms, Sara Cotner and Kylie D’Anton; it is called Kids in the Kitchen. It is a great introduction to Montessori philosophy and practical application. I am totally pumped for using it with my kiddos soon!

Totally awesome cookbook benefitings Montessori for All. Check out author Sara Cotner’s blog FeedingtheSoil.

So in order to gear up for this great adventure I went on a shopping spree at For Small Hands. I bought child size mixing spoons, mixing bowls, mini-colanders, etc. I was squealing with glee over the adorableness of these items! I am eagerly awaiting the shipment so I can begin teaching the cooking skills covered in the book! Then we will tackle recipes. Next post will be all about cooking!