Her post builds on yesterday’s challenge of building a self-serve kitchen area, and also invites us to consider the benefits of a Montessori-style snack time: independence, respect, and self-awareness.
Today’s challenge: Encouraging good habits at snack time
It is easy to let your child snack all day as we like Montessori kids to be able to help themselves. Some children do not sit at the table to eat and are allowed to play and eat at the same time. I don’t even taste my food if I am working on my computer and eating too. The same for children playing and eating.
Today’s challenge is to introduce good habits at snack time: to only choose as much as they will eat; to sit to eat; and to clear away at the end of their snack.
An older child could also wash up or pack the dishwasher.
1. Encourage your child to set the table before beginning to make a cracker:
For a young child:
- show them where the placemats are and say, “the placemat goes on the table”
- repeat for a bowl, a glass, and a spoon and fork (each requiring a separate trip to avoid accidents)
2. Encourage them to finish what is in their bowl before taking more food
For eg, you could say, “you can have another cracker when you have finished this one”
3. Let your child do as many steps as possible and step in only when necessary
If your child spills the water or juice, you can say, “Let’s go get a cloth.” For an older child, you can give them information, “The cloth in the sink can be used for spills.”
4. All done
For a younger child, when your child stands to leave the table, ask “are you all done with snack time?” If an older child leaves the table without finishing, you can also ask if they are finished.
- if not, encourage them to sit at the table, “we sit to eat”
- and if they are all done, encourage them to pack away their snack, “Let’s tidy away”
- young children will need to be shown how to empty any food from their bowl into the bin and place the dirty bowl in the correct place; how to empty their glass into the sink and put the dirty glass in the correct place; and where the dirty cutlery and placemats go
The purpose of snack time
Your children benefit enormously from preparing their own snack. The main goals are:
- To help the child understand the reality of food, experiencing food from its natural form and learning more about it
- To help child master the motor skills of preparing food
- To expand the vocabulary around food – the food, the utensils, the actions we are doing
- To participate in the social act of eating and sharing food
- To encourage independence and autonomy in the child
Happy snack time!
Simone Davies loves putting Montessori into practice. She is a qualified 0-3 Montessori teacher through the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and mother of two children who attended Montessori preschool and primary school. She is from Australia and lives in the Netherlands where she runs a Montessori playgroup for babies, toddlers and preschoolers in Amsterdam. Visit her website here: www.jacarandatreemontessori.nl/blog
Make sure to add the #30daysofMontessori hashtag to your pictures or posts about today’s snack times! Try out one or more of Simone’s suggestions and let us know how it goes — feel free to tag me on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter!