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  • Why my designs have the Montessori philosophy in mind

    When my two children were growing up, I was quite a hands-off parent. My attitude was to let them do their own thing and learn about their environment and I’d be there if they needed me.

    My daughter, Adele, was an early crawler – she was crawling at around six months – and I remember watching her crawl across the living room floor towards the kitchen. Between the two rooms there was a small step down and at first Adele would stop at the step. Then she would crawl to the step and attempt to go down it before crawling back again. Eventually, as Adele’s curiosity and confidence grew, she finally crawled down the step into the kitchen.

    It was just a small step and I knew it wasn’t dangerous, but of course I stood watching to make sure she was OK. And she was. It was so fascinating to watch Adele on her journey from the living room to the unchartered territory of the kitchen. I could literally see her mind working out how to get down that step. Interestingly, when other parents brought their children round to the house they all intervened to stop their kids crawling down the step.

    As long as my children were safe, I felt it was important to let them explore and find out about the world in their own way. In that respect, I’m aligned to the Montessori way of teaching – allowing children the freedom to develop and to learn by ‘doing’ rather than being instructed how to do something.

    I didn’t send my children to Montessori schools, but I like many of the values that are set out in their teaching approach – so much so that elements of the Montessori philosophy run through my designs. Take, for example, the Tidy Books bookcase. Its front-facing shelves mean children can easily see their books and so can independently choose the one they want to read. And with the bookcase’s 3D alphabet, kids can play and learn in their own time. All my Tidy Books designs work in a similar way to give children their own personal environment to work things out for themselves.

    Tidybooks Belle Vue Road

    While I design everything with children in mind, I don’t make nursery-style furniture that looks out of place in the home. The beauty of Tidy Books products is that they are also created to blend seamlessly into your living space. That’s great news for parents who, like me, hate too much clutter. And for your kids, it means opening up their world of independence way beyond their bedroom.

    Tidybooks Belle Vue Road

    * I’d love to know what you do to help your child foster their independence. Do drop me a line and share your experiences.

  • Bonding over bed time

    I was recently chatting to a friend about our childhoods, and she said she loved growing up sharing a room with her sister. They had bunk beds and at night she’d hang her arm down from the top bunk so they could touch fingers while they talked to each other. It was such a sweet story, and they’d obviously formed a real closeness during those early years – a closeness she says they still share today.

    Continue reading

  • HOW TO GET YOUR KIDS TO TIDY THEIR ROOM

    As a mum of two children, I know this struggle very well. Trying to get your kids to tidy their room can be hard work – and often it just feels easier to do it yourself, doesn’t it? But room tidying isn’t just about creating order among chaos. When kids tidy their own rooms they’re learning to take responsibility for their possessions and respect what they have. As well as this, experts believe that when children do things for themselves it helps to build self-esteem.

    I’ve found that a good way to start the room-tidying process is to declutter. Put all their books, toys and games on the floor and ask your children to decide which ones they want to keep and which ones go to charity. The less there is in your kids’ room, the less they’ll have to tidy. Of course, you’ll probably find there’s still lots left, so work on a rotation system where your kids can keep a certain amount of things in their room at one time. I do this with my daughter’s Tidy Books Bookcase. She picks a selection of books to put out and the rest get stored away until she’s ready for a change. This helps her to appreciate what she’s got and when we rotate her books it feels like she’s got brand new ones. Continue reading

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