There was a time when I thought I had all the details worked out for my son's nursery. Then we sold our house and moved across town into another one, which put me back at square one. It was a little daunting at first, but I soon began to realize what a great opportunity I had at my fingertips. Rather than mourning his old room, I had the chance to create a new room catered to a toddler rather than a newborn. Let's all be honest for a second—a toddler's needs are much different from an infant's.
I set out for some inspiration and stumbled across a few Montessori-style toddler rooms. According to Maria Montessori, "We must give the child an environment that he can utilize by himself: a little washstand of his own, a bureau with drawers he can open, objects of common use that he can operate, a small bed in which he can sleep at night under an attractive blanket he can fold and spread by himself. We must give him an environment in which he can live and play; then we will see him work all day with his hands and wait impatiently to undress himself and lay himself down on his own bed." Bottom line, a Montessori-style room is space where everything is within a child's reach and designed to cater to and foster personal growth.
At first I was startled by these rooms because there was never a crib in sight. However, as I began learning about the reasoning behind the bed and the rest of the room's set up, I was slowly brought on board. I knew I wanted to try out a Montessori-style room with our son. (Keep in mind that I'm not a Montessori-method expert by any means—this is just this mama's take on it!)
Check out the gallery to see how it has turned out (so far) and some of the steps I took to make it happen. We are all loving it at our house!
Are you a fan of the Montessori-style rooms?
One of the draws to this style of room for me was that it encourages simplicity. The room is set up without an excess of toys, bulky furniture and general kid clutter. It's a simple, straight-forward environment that is catered just for him — and I think we all enjoy the simpler space.
One of the major transitions we faced for this room was removing Asa's crib. The mattress directly on the floor seemed a little nuts at first but I was shocked at how quickly it started to make sense. He could climb in and out of it within seconds. He even squealed the first time he saw it! It really gives him a sense of independence and an environment that fits his physical stature, too. Now, I bet I know exactly what you are thinking. What happens at night? Well, he has been sleeping on a floor bed for about four months now (since 12 months old) and honestly, has been doing great! Please keep in mind that he usually crawls in bed with us somewhere after 2am but that's a discussion for another day.
Removing clutter was an important thing — which includes excess toys. By showcasing one kind of toy on each shelf, he has lots of choices of what to play with... but not too many. For us, I have found that this setup relieves over-stimulation and is also great for picking up. Our son has even begun to learn which shelf each toy goes on! I've also placed a few baskets of books throughout his room. This gives him easy access to them and allows him to pick out his favorites on his own when it comes time for stories.
I don't know about your personal experiences with changing a toddler's diaper but from my personal experience, it is easiest done on the floor. No wrestling them up on a table, wrestling a dirty diaper off, and then a new one on. I've found that he really like getting changed on the floor and will even help get the pad out when the time comes!
We removed a lot of furniture from his room at first, but realized we were still in need of somewhere to keep his clothes. Currently, the nicer clothing is hanging in his closet, and his play clothes reside in the bottom two drawers of the tall dresser. Once he gets a little older I plan on letting him help pick out his outfits, so having the clothes on the bottom sets us up for that even now.
I ended up reusing all of the artwork from my son's nursery at our old house. It saved us a bunch of money and I think it really add life to the room. Even though he no longer has a crib, I really wanted to include the mobile that I made him. Luckily, he is currently in love with balloons, and has a renewed love for his hot air balloon mobile. It melts my heart!
One of the last things that I did in his room was to look closely at some of the details I might have otherwise overlooked. A few things that I added included a new light and fun knobs on his dresser that are easy for little hands to grab. I'm surprised at how big of an impact something little can have on a room!
It must be hard being a little person in an adult world. That's why I wanted to make sure and include a small work space that was catered to his size. By simply adding a small table and chair, he now has a desk to sit at and look through books.