In this article, you will learn the purpose of a Montessori floor bed, when to introduce it, and learn the benefits of floor beds. You will also get some pointers on floor bed safety.
All You’ll Need to Know About the Montessori Floor Bed
If you’re new to the Montessori educational method, you might not have heard about the floor bed yet. Or maybe you’ve heard of them, but aren’t sure what they are or what their benefits might be.
The idea of a floor bed was conceptualized by Maria Montessori – the creator of the Montessori method. We’ll take a deep dive into the concept, so you can decide whether it’s right for your household.
What Is a Floor Bed?
A floor bed is quite literally a bed that’s placed on the floor. The mattress is kept directly on the floor, without a traditional bed frame or a crib.
While a floor bed is a strange concept for many people in the U.S., many other cultures throughout the world use them with great success.
When Should a Floor Bed Be Introduced?
Some people – those dedicated to the Montessori approach from the time their child is born – might use a bassinet for their baby during the first few weeks of their life. Around the age of 2 months or when the baby is a few weeks old is the ideal time to transition to the floor bed.
If possible, you’ll want to do it before your baby starts rolling.
But some people do decide to wait until their children are toddlers to introduce a floor bed.
What Is the Purpose of a Floor Bed?
The floor bed concept allows your child to explore their own independence. It encourages that.
It lets them decide when they’ll move, and they won’t need a parent to lift them out of a crib. They’ll feel more self-reliant and explore at their own pace.
This type of bed works well with the theories behind Montessori learning.
What Are the Benefits of Floor Beds?
Parents always have to weigh benefits versus risks for their kids. As a new parent, I constantly did!
Here are some benefits both you and your child might see from implementing a floor bed for your child.
- It is cheaper: Buying a crib for your child to use for a year or two can be pricey. With a floor bed, all you need is the mattress. So, financially, it can be a big benefit to you.
- You won’t wake up to a toddler crying from their crib: That’s not a pleasant way for either of you to wake up in the morning. Instead, you can be greeted by your child walking out of their room with a smile on their face, eager to see you. They won’t feel trapped – they’ll get to come and go as they please.
- It may improve your child’s outlook on bedtime: In some households, bedtime is a struggle. A child doesn’t want to go to their crib because they are confined there. They don’t have a choice. It’s like a cage with legs for them. They may not mind heading off to bed in the evening, though, with their floor bed. They’ll realize they can get up as needed, which gives them a sense of control.
- It can be cute: If you’re scared a mattress on the floor will look like something out of a prison movie, you don’t have to worry. You can make a floor bed look gorgeous with some imagination. The room is a blank slate, and you can do anything you want with it.
- Increased sense of independence: Some children bloom when they are given more freedom to choose what they’re going to do next.
- Less worry from parents: If you’re concerned your child will fall from their crib or roll out of a toddler bed, you might worry less with a floor bed. They are lower to the ground, so rolling out of them isn’t a big deal.
What Are Some Things You Should Know About Safety?
No method of sleep is ever 100 percent safe for babies and toddlers. Toddlers who sleep in cribs can turn into surprising acrobats as they try to escape the cribs by climbing.
That can lead to children falling out of cribs.
Other babies and toddlers are allowed to sleep in their parents’ beds. That can lead to suffocation risks from pillows or from parents rolling over on their children in their sleep and not realizing it.
Plus, children can also get injured from falling out of their parents’ beds or even toddler beds.
Likewise, there are a few safety risks you should be aware of when it comes time to transition to a floor bed. Let’s take a look at the main ones.
Rolling Off the Mattress
Once your baby learns how to roll, there is always the risk they’ll roll off of their mattress. But, since their mattress is sitting on the floor, they’ll only drop a few inches because children’s mattresses are not thick.
But even still, you may worry about your baby hitting its head on a hard floor.
If you have a hard floor in their nursery, you can put an area rug underneath the mattress. If you don’t want to put down a rug, you can put a blanket next to the mattress to protect them from rolling off.
If you have carpeting in your baby’s nursery, you won’t need to put any protection down at all.
Pay Attention to Baby Proofing
Your child won’t be trapped in a crib when using a floor bed. That gives them greater freedom.
You need to be careful with hazards, though, by diligently babyproofing certain items. You should make sure to cover any outlets so your child isn’t hurt while exploring.
Essentially, your child’s sleeping area should be akin to his “yes spaces” for play in the home; safe for exploration.
You’ll also want to ensure your child’s safety by putting up baby gates on any stairways they can reach. That way, if they get up in the middle of the night while you’re still sleeping peacefully, they won’t be injured falling on stairs.
You should do all the other baby proofing you’d normally want to do as well throughout your house. Make sure medications and household cleaning products are locked away or out of reach.
Floor Beds Can Be a Great Thing!
If you move ahead with your plans for a floor bed, you might get some strange looks from family or friends who’ve never heard of this alternative or who aren’t familiar with Montessori teaching methods. But don’t let that stop you!
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