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You’re probably here because you’ve heard about the Montessori floor bed and you’re probably wondering whether you should you get your child one or not? Well, it depends! In this article, we’ll see:
- The definition of a Montessori floor bed.
- The advantages and disadvantages of this type of bed;
- The type of bed to choose for your baby.
Montessori floor bed: what does it really mean?
Like many of the ideas that are now associated with the Montessori philosophy, Maria Montessori never really talked about a “Montessori floor bed”.
That said, she was a big fan of promoting independence in children from an early age, and this meant promoting it everywhere, even in the bedroom. She argued that it was important to avoid restricting children’s movements to allow them to explore and discover their world as they saw fit.
In the book, The Secret of Childhood, Montessori referred to children’s beds as “prisons” because of their bars, and said that putting children in these types of beds against their will transformed them into “prisoners” and only served the personal interests of adults, and not the child.
She said that children must be allowed to sleep when they felt the need to sleep, to wake up when they were done sleeping, and to leave their beds whenever they wanted to.
According to Maria Montessori, it was important to replace the classic child’s bed with a mattress placed on the floor on which children could lie on and get up from at their discretion.
While these are admittedly radical views, they gave rise to the Montessori floor beds as they are known today. Montessori believed that it was important for children’s beds to promote as much autonomy as possible.
The Montessori-style bed is therefore defined by two key characteristics:
- An absence of bars;
- A bed low enough for children to access as they see fit.
The advantages of a Montessori bed
Many advantages are associated with Montessori beds:
- By granting more freedom to children, they increase their autonomy;
- They limit children’s dependence and increase their self-confidence;
- They allow children to move freely and to play or develop important skills;
- They keep your child active, promoting the development of their gross motor skills;
- They allow children to better observe their environment;
- By giving kids greater autonomy, Montessori floor beds reduce power struggles;
- This type of bed reduces occurrences of “mental starvation”, to use Maria Montessori’s words, which results in less nighttime crying.
While Montessori floor beds have many advantages, they also have their disadvantages.
What are the drawbacks of these beds?
- Allowing your child to “freely explore” their environment requires a lot of work to make their room and all the rooms to which they will have access as secure as possible;
- Many parents worry that their kids could fall out of bed, even if the risks of injury are quite low because these types of bed are practically at ground level;
- Some parents consider that Montessori beds give too much freedom to children and prefer to maintain some form of control;
- Parents fear that too much freedom may make their kids decide that “playing is much more interesting than sleeping”, thus affecting their sleep routines. However, many parents who have opted for these beds find that after an initial adaptation period, their children develop regular sleep schedules (and routines).
What’s the best age for a Montessori floor bed?
The Montessori floor bed is not recommended for children under the age of one, as some specialists consider that it is difficult to sufficiently guarantee babies’ safety and this may therefore increase certain risks such as sudden infant death syndrome.
It is safe for children between the ages of one and three to use these types of bed, provided that their room is safe and has no potential risks.
After age three, most children are self-sufficient and can get into and out of their beds alone; the Montessori bed is therefore more a question of personal choice at this stage.
Helpful tips if you opt for a Montessori floor bed
If you choose to go for a Montessori bed, the first thing to do is to make your child’s room as secure as possible. It is important to get down on your knees (get down to their level) in order to assess, identify and eliminate anything that can prove dangerous.
Here are few things that you will need to verify:
- Baby-proof your electircal appliances. Ensure that you have GFCI outlets by looking for “reset” and “test” buttons on the outlet, use electrical outlet covers, and remove all electrical cords.
- Get rid of all sharp or fragile objects.
- Use cupboard and wardrobe locks to keep baby safe. Your baby should not be able to open them by themselves. Also, don’t forget to protect them from sharp corners.
- Avoid placing medicines or household cleaning products where your child can reach them.
- Use baby gates whenever necessary.
So, should you buy a Montessori floor bed or try a DIY version ?
There’s nothing simpler than making a Montessori bed at home. All you need to do is to place a decent base on the floor, then put your child’s mattress on the base.
It’s never a good idea to place the mattress directly on the floor as this may hinder ventilation, leading to mold and damage.
Using a mattress that you already have at home is as easy way to test whether the Montessori bed is for you (and your child) or not.
Here are a few options if you decide to go for a store-bought Montessori floor bed:
— This Tipi bed is not only good looking 😊, it also offers protection against falls. It is made of natural wood, but there are other color options. It is suitable for children up to the ages of 4/5;
If you’ll feel better with more security, this bed has bars but does not prevent your child from going to bed and getting up on their own;
— Here are many other great options.
Final words about the Montessori floor bed
Should you choose a Montessori bed or not? This is an entirely personal decision. While some parents consider that their children have sufficient freedom and are safer in traditional beds, others swear by Montessori floor beds.
To make your choice, think about what you really want, what your baby and your family needs, and whether or not your home’s design can allow this type of bed.
Did you get your child a Montessori floor bed? Let us know your thoughts about it in the comments section below.