Friday, July 17, 2009

Montessori Parenting - Practical Life Challenges: Getting Dressed

NAMC montessori practical life parenting getting dressed mom and girl blow bubbles
My recent blog on Natural and Logical Consequences has generated some empathetic comments, so we've decided to offer some further thoughts about specific stories that our readers have shared.

The first is from a mother whose two-year-old daughter resists dressing, either with or without assistance. Trying to dress a reluctant toddler can certainly be a challenge. You may try to begin the process by telling her ahead of time what is going to happen. “After breakfast, we are going to change out of your pajamas and into your play clothes so we can go to Grandma’s house.” This way, she knows and is prepared for what is coming next. When it is time to change clothes, remember to give her limited choices so she has a sense of having some control over the situation. Too many choices can be overwhelming to a toddler and will lead to discontent.

Montessori Parenting - Practical Life Challenges: Getting Dressed

  • “Would you like to wear your blue jumper or pink skirt?”
  • “Would you like to wear your brown lace-up shoes or your black buckle shoes?”
Allow her to dress herself, offering assistance at appropriate times.
  • “Would you like Mommie to help you button your sweater?”
If she lets you know that she prefers to do it herself, be respectful of her wishes. It can be difficult to do when you see her struggling or if you are in a hurry, but she will feel a great sense of accomplishment when she is able to express her preferences and “do it herself”.

As you observe your child dressing, make mental notes or even ask her about her preferences. Does she prefer Velcro to snaps, zippers to buttons? Does she prefer certain colors? Is she partial to certain fabrics and adverse to others? This will help you when choosing clothes for her. It will also let you know where she might need more practice with different types of fasteners.

Set up her bedroom so items of clothing are easily accessible. Using small hangers, low hooks, shelves and baskets that are within reach will heighten her curiosity and she will delight in being independent.
Exercise patience and conduct observations, and you may find that your child will teach you about her needs and interests and soon, dressing will no longer be a power struggle.

NAMC montessori practical life parenting getting dressed toddlers B manualNAMC montessori practical life parenting getting dressed twos b manual
NAMC offers a full curriculum and training program specific to Infants, Toddlers and Twos.
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, July 17, 2009.


  1. I loved your post about natural consequences, and this one strikes a chord, too. Some parents I work with don't think young children are capable of understanding natural consequences, but if the consequences are clear, and if you are consistent and follow through, it is one of the best techniques for raising self-aware individuals. Great blog!!

  2. Thank you for your kind reply. I have taught positive discipline classes for parents and at first, many are skeptical. But after some gentle guidance and practice, most of them see what a positive difference choice and natural consequences can make. If you like, Jane Nelsen’s Positive Discipline website ( has some great resources for both parents and teachers.

  3. 25-July-2009
    When I first enterd a Montessori classroom, I wondered! what montessori is all about?! but as soon as I started training with my head teacher, I found a reason for each single work. I found my self as a child when I was practicing practicale life activities, on my own way and how deeply I was in the work, specially whith puoring ,sponging, pocking activities. and I wished that if I could go back to my childhood and have the chance to practice them again, but in Montessori method. To accomplish this dream I gave this chance to my three year old daughter ,and I can see how happy she is with school. I alwayes thought how hard Doctor Maria Montessori worked to give her benfits of working to all of the children around the world , Montessori method has no language, the method fits all of culturales, because IT'S LIFE STYLE. so thank you Maria and god bless.

  4. Najah, what you said is so true. I often wished I had had the Montessori math materials when I was a child. However, I am so glad I am able to share the Montessori method and materials with others. Best wishes to both you and your daughter.


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