I just love, love, LOVE the Montessori Method! It is honestly one of the best parenting guides out there - and it wasn't even intended to be a parenting guide, just a educational model.
If I haven't emphasized why I love Montessori so much, it's because it's aim is to help the young child (even as young as 18 months) start to be self-sufficient and gain confidence that he can do things for himself (my little Montessorian is obviously a boy, so that's why I'll refer to the child as 'he') and also so that he feels like he is contributing to the house and doing his share of the work that he sees his mom and dad doing.
And Tips Jr is at the perfect 'absorbent' age for 'helping' us right now!
Last year when I started to have him sort silverware I realized he wouldn't just remember which slot each piece went in, so I literally put the knife, fork, spoon and little spoon on my copier and copied them. After cutting them out to fit inside each slot of the tray, I 'laminated' each piece of paper with clear packing tape and then taped it into the appropriate section.
Then, since he actually does eat with this silverware and we have to wash it with our silverware/dishes (by hand, no room for a dishwasher in our apartment), I had the brilliant idea to use one of the baskets I bought at the dollar store to store his clean silverware in after it was washed and then to have him sort the silverware from the basket into his little tray (Tips & I often do dishes at night after Tips Jr has gone to bed).
With the New Year, I made a resolution to really work to be more consistent in having Tips Jr doing more 'chores' around the house so that he feels like he is contributing to the household. I've had him sort his silverware a total of 2 times - once in January when I took these pictures and once on Wednesday. However, as I am expecting a new little addition to the Tips family (I'm 10 weeks) I haven't felt so good most days. Wednesday was one of my really bad days - I even had a migraine!
I decided that even though the house was a mess (due to me not working consistently with Tips Jr. to learn to put things away once he is done with them), I could still have him help me. So I pulled out his basket FULL of clean silverware and his empty silverware tray and I had him come to his little table and I told him, "I need you to sort your silverware for me." He set to work and diligently sorted all his silverware. I lost track of the time and sometime later after Tips got home from work, I got up from the sofa, and saw that the basket and tray weren't on his table anymore. I asked Tips if he had put them away and he said, "No" and then I realized.... not only had my little man sorted all his silverware, but he put the empty basket and the full tray back on his shelf right across from his little table!
It made me so happy to realize that my little man not only knows what and how to do some of these things I've showed him only a couple of times before, but also that he knows that they need to be put back where they belong! There is hope for the toys after all!!!!