We often get the sideways glances and questions from parents about the ‘Montessori way’ of changing diapers. “Why do you change a child’s diapers while they are standing up?” they will ask. “Is it sanitary?” “Would you like me to donate a changing table?”
The truth of the matter is, like all things in a Montessori environment, the decision to change children while standing is based on meeting the developmental needs of the child.
By the time a child can crawl and walk, their new-found mobility makes it more and more difficult to change them while lying down. They do not want to he held down and will squirm and roll over, trying to get away. At this point, the use of the changing table may even become dangerous. However, by inviting your child to become an active participant in the diapering process, you can shift the child’s attention away from trying to get away, to learning to care for himself.
While your child is standing, you and he can be face-to-face and have a conversation about the steps of diapering. The child can pull his pants down himself (something he cannot do while lying down) and even help with the diaper fasteners. While you are cleaning your child, he can have the important job of holding his shirt up. Then, when re-diapering, he child can hold the front of the diaper while you fasten it, and then he can help to pull his pants up and then wash his hands.
Through this process, your child will become more capable and will be ready to help care for himself when the time comes to begin toilet training.