Sometime between the ages of two and three your toddler will be ready to spend time away from home.   Traditionally this happens when the child gains personal independence in feeding, dressing and potty training.   S/he enters what Montessori calls the social embryonic stage time to learn with and from other children away from home. For many mums, dads and carers, this will be the first and very significant separation which can be painful for both sides.   It needs to be handled sensitively.

At home this is a period  when you can give your child special times for playing of simple games such a dominos, share books, sing and dance and tap to rhythm.  You can also make expeditions of discovery to the local museum, park, or playground. Try not to do what the child does at nursery, but find ways of complementing and extending his/her interests.   Continue to engage the child in daily household routines such as setting a table for meals, helping to load the dishwasher or washing machine, unpacking and organising shopping in cupboards. Give them little tasks such as making sure that their shoes are neatly put away when they come home and their coat is hung on a low hook. Share what you enjoy.

Organising the child’s rooms:

Rather than having a toy box in which you keep all the child’s toys, organise a small shelving unit on which you display a range of activities s/he enjoys such as a basket with wooden blocks or other construction toys, one or two puzzles with pictures of interest, a basket with models of farm or wild animals or dinosaurs, a doll to care for and dress and undress, and some books.

Create an a small area in each room of your house in which your child keeps his/her possessions in a basket or a small box.