Montessori challenge: the bathroom

I have joined in with Carine from the Montessori Family blog, who is doing a Montessori challenge for every month this year. Each month I will be posting about a space in our home and talking about the challenges we face with it, and how we have improved it or plan to improve it.

This month we are blogging about our bathrooms – definitely not where I would have chosen to begin, as in our home the bathroom is our most problematic space! Our bathroom is tiny (a tub and a sink, with a separate toilet) and is the only part of our home that we still need to renovate completely. The tiles make me shudder slightly, the sink is rickety, and the space is just not very child-friendly.

However! I have made some changes, and have many more planned, which I will talk about now.

I am using Carine’s bathroom challenge questions, and will answer these as I go.

Observe the room and how your child is using it. Every time your child asks for your help (or when you go and help her without her asking), try to see what prevents her to do it by herself.

Because Frida is still so small and our bathroom was not designed by us, it is not a great space for encouraging her independence. However, we have tried to make small changes.

I recently bought this brilliant suction set from IKEA  which includes a mirror and storage, as well as a timer. I have attached this on the wall next to the bath tub, which means when Frida is standing in the bath she can see her face in the mirror, and can reach her toothbrush. She can also turn the timer (which runs to six minutes, so quite a long time! I’m not sure what IKEA intended it for).

Depending of your child’s age, encourage your child to be independent regarding self-care. As rule of thumb, if your child walks, she can attempt most of her self-care needs with little support.

Although she is only 20 months, we do encourage Frida to be as involved as possible with regards to her self care. We have a box of reusable wipes from when she was in nappies which are basically like small flannels, and these are a perfect size for her to wipe her face or wash herself. After I have brushed her teeth she will then usually carry on for a while. She also brushes her hair – and ours!

We have also encouraged Frida to be independent in her toileting, and stopped using nappies at 17 months (you can read more about our toilet learning journey here). We are currently working on helping Frida to be more independent whilst dressing.

Does your child have access to the sink? Can she see herself in the mirror?

No, she doesn’t, and when we renovate the bathroom (hopefully within the next few months) we will be placing the sink lower down so that she can reach it when standing on a stool. Even standing on a stool now she is too small, so she washes her hands by standing on this red IKEA step stool and leaning over the bath tub. I would also like to add a tap extender so it’s easier for her to reach the tap.

She cannot see herself in the mirror either though there is one in her IKEA set pictured above, and she has a full-length mirror in her bedroom. When we renovate this is also something I will be thinking about.

What kind of bath toys does your child have? Does she play with all of them? Can she access her toys by herself?

We don’t have many bath toys for Frida – she tends to be much more interested in pouring, or “swimming like a mermaid”, or generally having fun with the water. She currently has a jug, an empty shampoo bottle, some Schleich sea animals (orca, tiger shark, great white, blue shark, dolphin), and a Plan Toys speedboat. You can see these in the photo above, stored in an IKEA suction storage basket, which she can access as it is low above the bath.

Does your child have access to her toilet accessories?

Yes, she does. Frida uses a Potette seat (pictured above) over the regular toilet, and has done since she was 17 months. She uses the red stool pictured earlier to climb up, though will ask for help sitting down. She can wipe herself after peeing, climb down on her own, and pull her trousers and pants back up.

Can your child reach the light switch?

She can – we have a pull-down light with a long cord.

So that is our bathroom, our challenges, and how we are trying to overcome them and make our space one where Frida can feel empowered to do things herself.

What are your bathroom challenges? As we are planning our new bathroom, what tips or “must haves” would you recommend for a family with a young child?

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7 thoughts on “Montessori challenge: the bathroom

  1. Hi Eloise.

    What a fab idea to join this challenge! I think I might join too so I get inspired and compelled to actually accomplish meaningful changes.

    Just realised I’ve been missing on a great opportunity to foster O’s independence in the bathroom. The things you and Carine have outlined are simple and I believe they could have a massive impact on how he uses that space. Thanks so much for blogging about this!

    Much like F, O doesn’t have many bath toys. He is a true water lover and enjoys his baths so much! Water transfering, splashing and ‘swimming’ are his favourite activities and it is a joy to watch. Bath time is also his 1 to 1 time with daddy so I tend to observe from a distance.

    I am going to make a list of small changes I can implement and try to put it on Instagram as I go along so I can feel part of this challenge too. This might help with my procrastinating tendencies! LOL

    Oh and I wanted to say I feel your pain about having a far from ideal bathroom. We lived with a very ugly bathroom (we had purple tiles. Yes. For real 🙈🙉🙊) for some years and I know how annoying it can be. Wishing you good luck with the renovations!

    Big love xxx

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  2. Love this post. I saw your photo on IG and popped over to read it. It’s inspired me to look at our bathroom. I’ve found a suction cup basket to store Sophie’s toothbrush. I love the idea of having the realisable wipes and think I need to get a low level mirror.

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  3. Pingback: When you’ve missed the sensitive period for toileting… and a Tiny Bathroom Challenge – Three Minute Montessori

  4. Pingback: Montessori Spaces – Bathroom Inspiration – Living with my Little Love

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