Part of empowering your child to become more independent is providing an appropriate place for them to care for themselves. Self-care stations are a hallmark component in Montessori homes and allow for children to participate in caring for themselves eventually completely independent.
“Children are as independent as you expect them to be.”
I completely agree I would also go on to add that allowing children the responsibility to care for themself creates proud and self-driven children with a great foundation to build on. Setting up a self-care station empowers a child to work on washing their face, brushing their hair and teeth and getting dressed.
Self-care stations can look different in each household and will even change as your child grows and develops their mastery of self-care tasks. Dressing self care stations can be placed in a child’s bedroom or near the laundry room and hygiene stations can be placed in the restroom, mudroom or likewise. Some components to keep in mind when creating a self-care station include:
A mirror at your child’s eye level allows them to see the tasks they are working on for instant feedback.
Think about child-height storage. Use hooks, or shelves so that things are in plain sight and fully accessible
Provide tissues to wipe their nose, and cloths to wipe their face
Provide the tools necessary for personal hygiene such as a hair brush, hair accessories, a tooth brush and toothpaste, pull-ups or diapers etc.
Provide a stool or helper stand for access to things you cannot move lower. A stool could be placed next to light switches, sinks, kitchen counters or wherever necessary to involve them in tasks which cannot be brought to their level.
Provide a child height chair for dressing
Water access is important. Some Montessori families will choose to place a dispenser low for children to use to wash, etc. In our home we prefer to have higher stools at the sink and are mindful of the accessibility.
My children have loved the opportunities that their self-care station has provided them to do independently! Although as a mom I am slightly saddened by them not needing my help it is far more satisfying to see their confident smile as they accomplish each new task without my help.