From the moment of birth, in fact even in the womb, the child is a unique human being with his/her own special characteristics, which become evident as the child develops and matures. Montessori stresses the importance of natural development and warns against too much constraint to the child’s movement or curiosity.

She acknowledges the need for consistent. predictable and available prime carer relationships, very much in line with the attachment theory developed by John Bowlby and others.   According to Montessori, this approach satisfies young children s sensitive period for order and underpins how s/he sees him/herself as an individual. Love and respect should be at the heart of the adult/child relationship.

Getting to know one’s child will further guide parents towards developing a home environment which satisfies the toddler’s need to move, explore and express his/her needs. Close observation of the child will also help parents learning about the child’s capacity to try to do things for him or herself and to trust their child’s endeavours towards autonomy, as this is the focus of all the child does at this age.

Parents show their respect for the child by giving them time to do things for themselves, and giving opportunities to repeat activities such as learning to drink from a glass rather than a beaker, feeding oneself, walking unaided and climbing up and down stairs.

You may want to try some of these with your toddler: going for walks, playing with sand and water, singing and reading books, exploring treasure baskets and having a shelf from which to choose favourite toys, pushing carts, going swimming with the family, posting shapes and learning to thread big beads.

Share these activities with your toddlers as they mature and get ready to enter nursery.

They love being outside in the rain and squelching in mud, riding on their tractor or a tiny trike, snuggling up for a story.

Your child will be interested in all you do and will be eager to help and copy what you do. Whenever possible give them opportunities to help; at the start they will not be very efficient but they will get better at helping you to set the table, load the washing machine, rake the leaves, sweep the floor and dust.

As they grow in competence it will become an enjoyable shared experience. Give your toddler as many opportunities to experience the environment through his/her senses. These experiences will be a vital foundation for later learning.

Being with toddlers is really rewarding for parents who are patient, respectful of their child’s efforts and who give them time to be and try things on their own without too much help or interference from the adult. Time spent together outside will be much appreciated by all.