Mom Gave Her 3-Year-Old Son His Own Fridge & Kitchen To Show How She Teaches Him To Deal With Mess

A mess led to a learning moment for one mom and her toddler.

Toddler cleaning up mess in fridge on TikTok TikTok

A mom who practices gentle parenting modeled how to respond to a messy situation without getting angry or blaming her kids. In her TikTok bio, Laura describes herself as a “Montessori and Respectful Parenting Momma.” She asked her kids about a mess she discovered in their play space, showing how gentle parenting works in action.

Laura gave her 3-year-old son Jonah access to a miniature fridge, which he is responsible for looking after. 

When she opened the freezer door one day, she found that something had spilled. Laura explained in her TikTok post that she utilized gentle parenting techniques to teach her young son about accountability. Upon seeing the mess in the freezer, she “asked what happened without placing judgment or blame. Jonah felt safe enough to be completely honest and took full accountability.”


At first, when asked what happened, Jonah answered, “Someone poured chocolate milk in here.” Laura then asked the more specific question “Who poured the chocolate milk?” Her older son, Carter, replied that his brother Jonah was at fault. 

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“Yeah, I did that,” Jonah exclaimed, taking responsibility for the spilled milk. 


“Thank you for telling me the truth,” Laura responded. “Can you help me clean that up?” 

She further explained that after thanking him for his honesty, she “used the correlating consequence, which is cleaning it up.” 

Jonah agreed to help clean the mess, at which point, his mother asked “What were you trying to do when you poured that in?” She explained in her caption that she “asked what he was trying to accomplish by doing this to gain a better perspective of his mind and understand the need he was trying to meet.”

The toddler answered her question honestly, stating he was pretending there was an engine, and so he poured “oil” into the freezer. Laura asked Jonah if he had any ideas on how to clean up the chocolate milk oil spill, and he suggested using a wipe.


She went on to say that she knew his suggestion of using a wipe wouldn’t clean the mess, yet she still “initiated child-led problem solving and let him try his idea to use a wipe even though I knew it wouldn’t work. This builds confidence and problem-solving skills.” 

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“Is that working?” Laura asked her son. “Nope,” he replied. She asked him if he had any other ideas, or if he’d rather have her tell him what to do. Jonah answered, “I want you to tell me.”

Laura captured footage of Jonah scraping the frozen milk out of the freezer, stating, “he did almost all the work by himself, with help from Carter. He didn’t mind the process, but discipline doesn’t have to be negative in order for them to learn.”


Jonah’s older brother Carter offered up his assistance, saying, “If you need some help, we can do it together.” Jonah thanked him, and the two boys worked together to clean the mess.

Laura noted that Jonah apologized for making a mess all on his own, without being asked to do so.

When he said sorry, his mom reassured him it was okay, and so did his brother. Carter told him, “Accidents happen,” and Laura agreed with his assessment.

She explained that she “thanked him for cleaning and confirmed what he learned by asking what he should do next time he wants to ‘build an engine’ to make sure he understood.”

She asked him, “Next time you want to pretend something is an engine, what should you do?” Jonah answered, “Ask for Mommy to build something as an engine.”


Guidepost Montessori explains that the technique of gentle parenting “asks you to become aware of the behavior you model for your child, encourages compassion, welcomes emotions, and accepts the child as a whole, capable being.”

As a parent, Laura is clearly encouraging empathy and compassion, while accepting her kids as they are. The fact that Laura gave her toddler access to a fridge with the expectation that he maintain it shows that she’s modeling ideals of responsibility and accountability to her kids, and letting them learn for themselves how to put those ideals into practice. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. As a former postpartum doula, she covers parenting issues, pop culture analysis, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.