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The Best Ways to Implement Montessori at Home {Food}


From the moment I laid eyes on “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed”, I have worked hard to implement Montessori in our home. You can see some of my first published posts many moons ago focused on the topic.

How do we implement Montessori at home when we have infants & toddlers, or we work outside the home, or if we are on a tight budget? I got your back. To begin, here are a few ideas on implementing Montessori at Home when it comes to FOOD. Enjoy!

Kids in the Kitchen

How to Implement Montessori at Home 

Food Preparation

I have three young sons. I experience – practically on a daily basis – how much easier and how much quicker whipping up dinner on my own without little hands and bodies assisting me.  

For me, I had to take a step back and completely shift the meaning of “food preparation” in our home. In other words, preparing meals is not simply about putting food on the table, it is an experience for the child to develop fine motor skills, to learn about nutrition, and, not the least of which, to have fun with his parents making a meal!

To make integrating a child into your food preparation a bit easier, consider purchasing child sized kitchen tools such as a peeler, a corer, a whisk, a cutter, and an apron. Montessori Services offers many of these products at reasonable prices.

Montessori at Home


As tough this transition can be on us as parents, making food accessible to children will benefit them hugely, in the long run especially. You may have battles when your child reaches for a third helping of goldfish crackers, but the skills your child is developing and nurturing as he learns self regulation, practices independence, and embraces self sufficiency trump that moment of parenting stress.  Consider a snack drawer for your child!

I know this battle first hand. Consider managing the child’s access to food by only providing what he may need for that day or week on his accessible shelf, or placing a number card to indicate the number of pretzels to grab for a snack. Every child is different. So, I hesitate to prescribe one method, or approach, to making food accessible in your home.

Family Meal Montessori At Home

Family Meal

Like with food preparation, the family meal time is not simply about putting food in our bodies. Family meals are an opportunity for children to develop grace & courtesy.  Furthermore, it is an opportunity to truly work on completing the work cycle. Think about the experience as a work cycle beginning with a lesson (e.g. setting ground rules), then practicing the “work” {e.g. setting the table, conversation, eating properly, etc} , and placing the “work” back on the shelf {e.g. clear dishes}.

Set ground rules as a family about how to behave respectfully at mealtime. Try to frame these rules in a positive way. For example, say “our bodies remain still in our chairs” instead of “no standing in chairs”.

Include the child in setting the table and be sure to use properly sized cups and dishes, but avoid using plastic plates and cups.  Montessori Services has many offerings in this area. You can also visit a local thrift shop for beautiful, yet inexpensive  (i.e. if it breaks, your wallet won’t feel it as much), dinnerware. I am always surprised at what people give to thrift stores.

During the meal, converse about the day by asking reflection questions such as “what did you discover today?” and “can you think of a time when someone was kind to you today?

At the end of the meal, encourage your child to check in with family members to make certain they’re done eating before excusing himself. Guide your child to ask to be excused from the table once he is done eating but also once the family is done as a whole.

Finally, include the child in the final work involved in a meal. Dishes go in the sink or dishwasher. Clearing the table at the end of the meal completes the work cycle.

I hope you enjoyed this post!


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