what is a montessori floor bed for a baby (3)

What Is A Montessori Floor Bed For A Baby?

First things first — technically, there's no such thing as a "Montessori bed." Instead, beds are inspired by the general principles of the Montessori Method. 

The inventor of the method, Dr Maria Montessori, believed that children thrive when given the freedom to move and learn independently. 

So, generally speaking, a Montessori bed is a mattress without restrictive railings around it, close enough to the floor so that the child can get in and out of it by himself.

If we apply this philosophy to the Montessori-inspired bedroom, floor beds are the ideal choice. The common alternative of cribs and bassinets restrict a child's ability to move freely. What does "freely" mean within the context of a crib? If you think about it, kids can move around in cribs; they have freedom. 

However, an infant or toddler is confined to their sleep space when in a crib, which keeps them dependent on an adult to help them out when they are ready to move, play, engage, or practice self-care skills that the entirety of their bedroom is supposed to offer. 

The early years are when physical movement is so important for children, and choosing to use a floor bed can encourage them to continue practising their gross motor movements.

Are Montessori Floor Beds Safe For My Child?

While it can be scary to leave your child alone without anything holding them in during sleep time, floor beds have many benefits that do not compromise the safety, so long as a few extra considerations are given to "childproof" the entirety of the bedroom. 

Before introducing a floor bed, parents should get low to the ground at the child's level and remove potential hazards within the child's reach, such as covering outlets, removing wires, and securing furniture to the walls.

Once the entire room becomes a safe space for the child, switching to a floor bed offers immediate benefits. Without the restrictions of crib slats or the walls of a bassinet, children can visually observe more of their environment, make larger movements that their bodies naturally crave, and can successfully get out of their beds when they feel the need to. 

This trust for autonomy helps satisfy the young child's need for independence, which boosts their confidence — and to the parent's mutual benefit — minimises power struggles.

Once your child is more mobile and can walk, they can wake up and move around by themselves to address their needs, whether to use the restroom, retrieve a sip of water, or communicate that they need a parent's comfort. 

This freedom might frighten parents, but many parents find that this freedom promotes calm and respect when given healthy limits and safe boundaries. In addition, the ability to move around the bedroom prevents children from suffering from, as Dr Montessori put it, "mental starvation," which means they tend to cry less during the night.

As for the big question: what if my child rolls off the bed? There's a good chance it will happen, but since floor beds are so close to the ground, the likelihood of your child injuring is lower than you may think. 

If you are worried about this, we'd suggest starting with a mattress-only approach and choosing one that is very low to the ground. The other thing to remember is that this acts as a learning experience in different ways for your child. 

They'll realise what happens if they get close to the edge of the bed and will be far less likely to repeat it. But they'll also begin to learn how to get down from heights safely.

Baby Nursery FAQs

A Montessori bed is simply a bed or mattress on the floor. A floor bed is used because it allows the child independence and ownership over their environment. Parents typically transition their child to a floor bed between 5-10 months of age, although some begin as early as two months.

For babies under the age of 1, Montessori beds are a no go since they fall outside of the safe sleep practices outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics and are aimed at reducing the risk of SIDS.

The inventor of the method, Dr Maria Montessori, believed that children thrive when given the freedom to move and learn independently. So, generally speaking, a Montessori bed is a mattress without restrictive railings around it, close enough to the floor so that the child can get in and out of it by himself.

It is the fact that the mattress is on the floor. Aesthetics purely inspires the housing element above the mattress. Many families love to decorate their little one's room with whimsy, and a house bed offers a taste of that.

Montessori is a scientifically based education approach that emphasises independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child's natural psychological, physical, and social development. It was developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori.

When To Start Using A Montessori Floor Bed?

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There is no specific age for transitioning your child to a floor bed, but most Montessorians recommend doing so between 5 and 10 months of age when they have started to sit up and move around on their own.

There are usually two ways of introducing your child to a floor bed. Some parents move their children from their bassinets or cradles to a floor bed right away, and some transition them from a crib to a floor bed between 1 and 3 years of age.

Starting early has its advantages, but it has its challenges as well.

The advantages of starting right away are that you never have to buy a crib, and also, the child gets to make use of their absorbent mind as early as possible. As soon as they have developed the ability to move around, they find a rich, inviting world waiting for them.

However, you may want to install a little rail around the floor bed or mattress until the child can move around on their own (around 6-8 months of age), so they can't wriggle out of the bed when they are incapable of adjusting their position. If you decide to wait until the child is older than one-year-old, this is also okay, but you might want to do it gradually.

Some parents have found it better to start with naps on the floor bed first, then transition bit by bit into nighttime sleep.

If you wait until your child is older to transition to a floor bed, you might find them struggling a little bit to adjust for the first few days. However, you will quickly find that they learn to establish and keep normal sleeping patterns.

Whenever you decide to transition your child to a floor bed, remember to incorporate the freedom of movement, respect, and the sense of choice from the Montessori method to your child's sleeping environment.

If they learn to regulate their body to sleep and play at this age, you will have done your child's wonderful brain a great service they won't ever forget.

Montessori Bed Supports Learning.

The Montessori approach encourages us to provide many opportunities for children — even babies!– to experience freedom of movement, respect, and choices, all of which contribute to the learning process. 

But you don't have to be in the classroom to create these opportunities. There are many ways to do this at home. And, if you're brave enough to try the floor bed, you can do it in your sleep! (Or, rather, your baby's sleep.)

A Toddler Floor Bed Allows Freedom Of Movement.

The opportunity to move freely in their room gives your baby a feeling of independence. They become comfortable seeking out new things, and your little one will see the world as a place to make discoveries. 

They can hurry to the door to see if you have left and then hurry back to their bed. Parents are often surprised to learn that even young babies will choose to get back in their bed when it is time for sleep! 

Your child can wake up and check to see new books in the book basket. All this opportunity for movement makes the world feel full of possibility. The freedom in their bedroom translates to freedom of thought as they grow older. 

It is natural for them to feel curious and then follow up on those curiosities because they have had this freedom since they were babies. As they get older, they will continue to make discoveries in their physical and intellectual world and then determine new patterns and ideas from this exploration. Freedom of movement provides a good foundation for this kind of learning.

Floor Beds Convey Respect.

When your baby's bedroom is designed around their needs and capabilities, it reflects a sense of respect for them. Having the bed on the floor is a way of giving your baby a room on their level. A baby who grows up with this kind of respect will develop a feeling of empowerment. They learn that they can make changes in their world and control their lives from a very young age. 

This feeling leads to confidence. Your baby will learn that they do not have to wait for you to come in and get them before they can do anything because their room was created with their abilities in mind. They can change their environment as soon as they wake up and feel like it. 

Their day does not begin and end with your presence. This kind of empowerment is incredible for a young baby. They learn to trust themselves and their abilities because you trusted them. Having confidence like this will aid their learning throughout their lives from a young age. 

They will develop the knowledge that if they do not know something, they can trust themselves to go and find it out. Learning requires real effort throughout our lives. It is not easy. 

Having a deep sense of confidence will give your child the faith to push through the challenge. In addition, your respect for them from a young age will encourage this confidence.

A Floor Bed Encourages Decision-Making.

The floor bed provides your baby with choices from the moment they wake up. They can choose–the mobile, the mirror on the wall, the wooden rattle, or the cloth ball? (All vetted for safety). It's up to their interest on that day. 

Because it is what is most interesting, they will concentrate on that activity. The best way to develop skills in concentration is to practice concentrating. It's a straightforward concept. The challenge as a parent is to find something that your baby wants to concentrate on. 

Thankfully, Montessori's work lays out activities and objects that appeal to your baby at different times in their development. However, even with these specific instructions, we cannot always know exactly what they will want to do at any given time. 

This is where the genius of choice comes in. When your baby has (limited) choices, they will choose the activity that interests them most at that moment. We do not have to guess. The floor bed gives your baby developmentally appropriate choices and allows them to strengthen their budding concentration in the security of their bedroom.

There are many ways to support your baby's learning through a Montessori environment. Families who do not choose to use the floor bed still have many ways of incorporating this approach into their homes. 

Freedom of movement, respect, and choices are inherent in every aspect of the Montessori method. This work happens in the classroom, and it happens at home. The floor bed is just one of many ways to affect your baby's development.

How To Make A Floor Bed

what is a montessori floor bed for a baby

Here are just a few ideas for a kid's floor bed frame you can easily put together yourself.

Creating your own floor bed space doesn't require a lot. A simple mattress or sleeping mat is usually more than adequate.

These ideas are inexpensive, easy and portable! Let's get started…

The Mattress On The Floor

The Japanese futon trend is here to stay. It's been popular overseas for years and has finally made a name in the West.

It's a great way to make the most of your home or office and allows even the smallest spaces to be multifunctional.

Japanese futons are uniquely designed to be folded up and stored away during the day.

This leaves plenty of room for other activities in the space during the day.

Floor Sleeping Mat

A floor sleeping mat is similar to a Japanese futon and is an easy and super affordable floor bed option.

They range anywhere from $30 to up in the hundreds of dollars.

Be sure to read reviews before purchasing to find one to fit your needs.

Trundle Bed Frame

Buy a trundle bed frame and take off the trundle wheels:

Benefits Of A Floor Bed For Toddlers

  • The first benefit of a Montessori floor bed for toddlers is probably the most obvious reason. One of the first worries you have as a parent is their child rolling out of bed after transitioning them out of a crib. This is something you don't have to stress about with a floor bed because even if they do roll off, it's not much of a fall at all!
  • The second biggest concern I hear is that they won't ever fall asleep or stay in bed. And honestly, that's a concern with any bed, but a floor bed almost encourages them to get up and move around, BUT that's not a bad thing! The idea of a floor bed stems from Maria Montessori's way of thinking, which stresses independence and freedom for the child within limits. So yes, they may get out of bed and wander around the room (which is why it's so important to babyproof the room first), but this is what they're supposed to do! They may take longer to fall asleep at first or fall asleep on the floor for the first few attempts, but eventually, they WILL fall asleep, and they WILL stay in bed. How long that takes varies per child. This part of their natural development teaches them their sleep cues and boundaries.
  • This option can be much cheaper than buying a whole new bed. You can make things super cheap and put a mattress on the floor, and just like that, you have a floor bed. Or you can get creative and make one that is still a money-saving idea.
  • Their newfound independence will surely be your morning's saviour! Instead of crying from their crib or crying to get down from bed, they will be freely able to explore and play in their bedroom. This independent play is good for them and GREAT for the tired parents! I can get a solid 30 minutes extra in the mornings by not needing to grab her right away.
  • Their bed becomes an inviting place where they are eager to go. Not only just for sleep but for relaxing too. I can't tell you the number of times my two year old has been found sitting on her bed with all her stuffed animals close by, reading a book. She LOVES her floor bed, and it's not a place she dreads being. This also helps when it is time to sleep because she is happy to crawl into bed and rest. As she grows, her bed will always be accessible, and she will have her own little hangout space. I will also never have to ease her fears of monsters under the bed because that would be impossible (kidding, kind of!) There are so many possibilities for floor beds, and you can truly do as much or as little aesthetically as you want!

 

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