A 21-month-old toddler can be a handful. At this age, they start walking and running. They pick and throw almost anything within reach. Let’s not forget how they love putting things in their mouths. They love to crumple, tear, and smash things. They are balls of energy!
These behaviors are not bad. These are innate for kids this age. You can take these behaviors as windows of opportunity to teach and guide. Their behavior may be telling you that they are in a sensitive period and they are open to learning.
What should I be teaching my 21-month old? Teach your 21-month-old hand-eye coordination, repetition, speech and language, practical life skills appropriate to their age, socialization, order and organization, gross motor movement, and fine motor movement.
At 21-month old, your child is ready to explore and learn. Take this time to let them soak in new information and learn new skills. Their optimum brain development depends on it.
Before you start, observe your child. Are they constantly running around, crawling into tight spaces, escaping to go outside, or reaching top shelves for shiny objects? Follow your children’s interests. Start from there.
Based on what your children are most interested in, pair them with related activities below.
- Stacking and Sorting
- Nature walks
- Color sorting
- Matching games
- Pouring, scooping, and transferring
- Large puzzles
- Threading wooden pieces
- Easel painting
- Opening and closing
- Nuts & bolts
Do one activity at a time. Let them finish an activity before moving on to the next. Mastery of a skill or activity is important. Teach and guide them with the activity but allow them the freedom to do it themselves. Only intervene if they ask for help.
Rotate activities so they will not get bored. Include a heavy work activity often. Some heavy work activities are swinging, jumping on a trampoline, obstacle courses, tug of war, tumbling, and many others.
It is important to set the environment before you start teaching your child. Consider the child’s needs and interests. Furniture plays a big part in creating a Montessori nursery.
The right furniture can help enable the child. It will help them take those little steps to independence. Child-sized furniture gives the child a sense of autonomy and the confidence to do a task.
Here is some must-have furniture for your kids.
Is your child sleeping in a crib? At 21 months old, it may be time for a floor bed or a Montessori bed. A floor bed will give them easy access to getting in and out. This will also allow them to explore and do activities right after getting out of bed. A crib limits your child’s space for exploration, thus limiting their imagination.
A floor bed gives children independence and allows them the freedom to move.
Weaning tables and chairs are child-sized furniture that will assist children in learning independence and self-help skills. By having their own chair and table, children can learn to set their tables and eat independently. This will foster freedom and autonomy.
A weaning table and chair can be used as a work table for other Montessori activities as well.
A Montessori shelf is a low, open-faced shelf that gives the child easy access to toys and learning materials.
Give your children the responsibility to keep the shelf organized and clean. This way, they will learn to clean up and put away their toys and materials when they are done.
This is also called a learning tower. It is basically a step stool for children with a safe “cage.”
A kitchen helper tower will allow children to get involved and help in the kitchen. They can start doing simple chores like washing fruits and vegetables or washing their sippy cups.
This should be a child-sized rack that is within reach. This will aid in teaching the child self-help skills like self-dressing, choosing their clothes, organizing and hanging, etc.
When introducing the use of a wardrobe, limit the number of options and organize it so the child does not get confused or overwhelmed. Model self-dressing to the child if it is needed.
How do I know if my 21-month-old is ready to learn? Observe your child. If they are always crawling under tables or on the floor picking things up, they are curious. When they are constantly exploring and asking questions, it is a good sign. Curiosity is a great signal that your child is ready to learn.
How do I know if I am choosing the right activity for my 21-month-old? Again, observe your child. Base your activities on things they are interested in. You can also slowly introduce one activity at a time and see which ones they gravitate towards. Don’t worry, your child will let you know if the activity suits them or not.
What if my child does not show interest or avoids the activities and toys I prepared? There are several reasons that they do this. They may be intimidated. Toddlers do not always warm up to new things. It takes time. In this case, keep encouraging them. Another reason is they are not ready for that certain activity yet. In this case, change it up. If they still do not show interest, choose another similar activity. It should work. Just follow your child’s interest and you won’t go wrong.
My 21-month-old is advanced in her age, what should I do? Adjust your activities to her level. Research other Montessori materials that will match her interests and developmental level. In this case, a consultation with an expert will help.
Is the Montessori Method expensive? Yes, it is costly. Even in a home setting, it can still be expensive. The Montessori toys, materials, and furniture are mostly high-quality and not mass-produced. They are also safe and durable.
By the age of 21 months, you should be teaching your child hand-eye coordination, repetition, speech and language, practical life skills appropriate to their age, socialization, order and organization, gross motor movement, and fine motor movement.
21 months is a sensitive age where children are curious and open to learning. Parents should take advantage of this window to give their children the chance to absorb more information. Their brain and overall development depend on it.