If you are considering a floor bed for your baby but wondering ‘are Montessori bed safe for babies‘, you’ve come to the right place. The increased interest in the Montessori method of learning has also increased the interest in the Montessori setting at home.
More and more parents are doing away with cribs and transitioning to Montessori beds. The idea behind a Montessori floor bed is quite self-explanatory.
It refers to a bed that is positioned directly on the floor or at a low height, enabling young children to climb in to fall asleep in and out of it safely on their own.
This can be as simple as placing a firm crib mattress directly on the floor (recommended for children under 2 years old), or utilizing a bed frame specifically designed as a Montessori floor bed.
The choice of setup and the most suitable option will depend on the available sleep space and the age of the child when they start using it.
But many parents asks, are Montessori beds safe for babies? Yes, generally, Montessori beds are safe for babies. The concept of theses beds is that it should be kept as low to the ground as possible. This means the bed is too low for children to fall off. It also gives them a freedom of movement wherein a child learn to independently look out for themselves. Montessori furniture, tools, and equipment are well thought out, studied, and carefully designed with your kid’s safety, learning, and growth in mind.
History of the Montessori Floor Beds
During the early 1900s, Maria Montessori, an Italian physician, pioneered the development of Montessori educational principles, which emphasize hands-on learning, movement, choice, and order within the learning environment.
The concept of “Montessori at home” involves parents adopting these principles in their parenting approach, treating children with respect, fostering their independence, and carefully preparing the home to support their individual development.
The idea of a floor bed aligns naturally with these Montessori principles, as it promotes independence by allowing children to enter and exit their bed on their own.
However, it’s important to note that the popularity of floor beds extends beyond the influence of the Montessori approach.
Many cultures across the globe have used floor beds for centuries, predating the 20th century.
For instance, in Japan, people have been sleeping on floor beds in various styles since the 10th century.
Although this is the case, Montessori approach actively puts premium on this practice up to this day.
How Safe Are Montessori Floor Beds for Babies and Toddlers?
Although it may initially seem daunting to imagine your child using a floor bed without any barriers, floor beds offer numerous benefits without compromising safety. As long as it is placed directly on the floor and certain precautions are taken to childproof the entire bedroom, the principles of the Montessori method highly encourages this sleep method.
Before introducing a floor bed, it is important for parents to get down to the child’s level and remove any potential hazards within the child’s reach, such as covering outlets, securing furniture to the walls, and removing wires that can impede their time to sleep.
Once the room has been transformed into a safe space, transitioning to a floor bed at night brings immediate advantages.
Without the confines of crib slats or bassinet walls, children have the freedom to visually explore more of their surroundings, engage in larger movements that their bodies naturally crave, and independently get out of bed when needed.
This trust in their autonomy satisfies their need for independence, boosts their confidence, and reduces power struggles, which benefits both the child and the parent.
As children become more mobile and capable of walking, they can wake up and move around independently to attend to their needs, whether it’s using the restroom, getting a drink of water, or seeking comfort from a parent.
The floor bed allows the child to learn how to soothe herself back to sleep should she wake up and help children reduce the risk of sudden infant death.
While this newfound freedom may initially worry parents, when provided with healthy limits and safe boundaries, it often promotes a sense of calm and respect.
Undeniably, floor beds safe for children can be as easy as a bed on the floor or a mattress placed on a floor. Naps on the floor bed are especially helpful to infants who are still learning how to roll and promotes respect for the child.
When children are given the chance to have use of floor beds, the benefits of a Montessori floor bed will help infants and toddlers have better sleep at night.
The ability to move around the bedroom helps prevent children from experiencing “mental starvation,” as Dr. Montessori described it, which can lead to fewer night-time cries.
When to Start Montessori Floor Bed
Introducing a Montessori floor bed to your child’s sleeping routine is most suitable when your child is between 6 to 9 months old. At this age, babies usually start showing increased mobility through rolling and moving. This developmental milestone is a sign of their growing ability to explore their surroundings and exercise basic motor skills.
Transitioning to a floor bed during this period aligns with the Montessori philosophy of fostering independence and a sense of autonomy from an early age. The absence of crib rails allows the child to freely move in and out of bed, encouraging them to make their own decisions as to when they wake up or go to bed. However, it’s important to assess your child’s readiness and ensure that the sleeping environment is properly childproofed to prioritize their safety during this transition.
5 Benefits of a Montessori Toddler Bed
Like all Montessori furniture and materials, the bed supports learning too.
The Montessori floor bed is basically a mattress on the floor or a child-sized bed that is lowered.
By doing so, you are enabling your children to get in and out of bed on their own. Giving them independence and trust to make decisions within the bedroom.
They do not have to wait for you to do anything. Children can start doing things on their own within limits. You are empowering them and building their confidence.
Whereas, in a crib, babies are confined to a small area. They have limited space, limiting their exploration and imagination.
The following are 8 specific benefits of Montessori Floor Bed:
- Supports fine motor skills and motor function
Right from birth, babies begin making small movements and have the ability to turn around almost completely.
If you observe closely, you’ll notice that when they reach the edge of the bed, they instinctively move back and avoid falling off.
This helps them develop a sense of their body in relation to space, and having a floor bed further enhances this awareness.
Additionally, floor house beds help children have an unhindered view of their surroundings, allowing them to fully appreciate and engage with their environment, Montessori style.
- Develop the kid’s sleep independence
According to Whitney Casares, M.D., MPH, FAAP, author of The Working Mom Blueprint: Winning at Parenting Without Losing Yourself, advocates of floor beds emphasize that they offer children greater access to books and quiet toys during bedtime preparation and upon waking up from sleep or naps.
This increased accessibility promotes independence in children.
This practice will extremely help children who are still learning to sleep through the night without assistance from another person and learn to soothe herself back to sleep.
- Boosts your child’s self-confidence and self-esteem
Having floor beds can improve a kid’s autonomy in determining when they have finished sleeping.
Floor beds foster a positive association with sleep because children do not feel confined or trapped in their bed.
Instead, the bed becomes a place where they rest and have the freedom to get up when they have completed their rest.
- Creates space for bonding
Another benefit of floor beds is the flexibility they offer in terms of adult-child interaction.
Depending on the size of the bed, adults have the option to sit or lie in bed with the baby as needed.
This proximity allows for activities like reading or breastfeeding without the need to lift the child out of bed or change locations, which can potentially disrupt sleep patterns.
- Convenient and affordable
The customization of a floor bed is entirely up to personal preference, allowing for both simple and intricate designs.
When to Use a Montessori Bed for Safe Sleep?
There is no exact age for starting your babies on a Montessori floor bed. You do it when you feel your child is ready.
Some Montessori experts recommend introducing the floor bed to babies at five to ten (5 – 10) months. Some parents do it as early as four.
To be safe, we recommend that you start introducing the use of a Montessori floor bed between one year old and three.
According to the Safe Sleep Practices, there should be no gap between the crib or the wall for kids below one year old. There should be no pillows or blankets. The bed should be a clean, safe space for a baby.
This is why it is safe to recommend that a floor bed is introduced between one year to three. Children at this age are no longer at high risk for SIDS.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Montessori Floor Bed?
Montessori beds offer a better and innovative approach to childhood sleep by promoting independence and exploration. However, they also pose some safety and transition challenges that you may want to consider before making that purchase.
The Pros of Montessori Floor Bed
A Montessori floor bed will allow your child to independently get in and out of bed, giving them a sense of autonomy and self-reliance. They can learn to make choices about when to rest and when to wake up.
Freedom of Movement
Without the confines of crib rails, a Montessori floor bed gives your child the ability to move around freely, encouraging physical exploration and motor development.
Environmental Exploration: A floor-level bed gives your child the opportunity to be in closer contact with their environment, which is in line with the Montessori philosophy of promoting hands-on exploration and learning.
Development of Gross Motor Skills
Climbing onto and off a Montessori floor bed requires coordination and balance, helping to develop your child’s gross motor skills.
Transition to Larger Bed
Transitioning from a Montessori floor bed to a larger bed tends to be smoother since your child will already be accustomed to sleeping without crib rails.
Montessori floor bed Safety
In terms of safety, some parents feel that a floor bed is safer than a crib, as there is no risk of the child climbing and falling over the crib rails, especially during those early years when they are vulnerable to falling off their bed during sleep.
The Cons of Montessori Floor Bed
Unlike cribs, floor beds lack the containment that can prevent a child from getting out of bed when they’re supposed to be sleeping. This could lead to bedtime challenges.
Some children might resist staying in bed initially, which can result in bedtime struggles and frequent disruptions. It is important to be persistent and stay through the course in such cases.
Need for Childproofing
Since a floor bed allows the child to move freely, the room needs to be carefully childproofed to ensure their safety, including securing furniture and outlets and sometimes you might need to use a gate to ensure your child doesn’t wander around at night.
Transitioning from a crib to a floor bed can be challenging for some children, as they might be used to the secure feeling of a crib and may take time to adjust to the new setup. But if you persist, they’ll soon get the hang of it.
Different Parenting Styles
The Montessori approach may not align with everyone’s parenting style or cultural norms, so some parents might prefer traditional cribs.
Using a Montessori floor bed or a crib depends entirely on your individual circumstances, preferences, and the needs of your child. What works well for one family might not be the best fit for another, so it’s important to consider what aligns with your values and your child’s development.
Montessori floor bed Safety Concerns
With regards to safety, Some parents worry about the safety of a floor bed, especially for infants who are more prone to rolling off. There is also the concern about the child getting up and wandering around at night.
Things to Consider in Getting a Montessori floor bed/Crib
- The Base of the Bed
The bed should be kept as low to the ground as possible.
There are many types of bed bases to choose from. The bases vary in height.
It is important to decide if you are using a base or not. If you do, consider the level of elevation. The lower the better.
Bed bases come in different materials and colors. Wooden bases are safe and durable while metal bases are sturdy.
- Rails or No Rails
Rails on Montessori floor beds do not prevent babies from moving around freely. Rails are put in certain areas around the bed but there are open spaces so they can freely climb in and out of bed.
Rails are good to use when transitioning into a bed from a crib. It can also keep babies from falling at night.
Deciding whether to use rails or not should be based on your kid’s capabilities and safety considerations.
Montessori mattresses come in different sizes – toddler, single, double, twin, and queen sizes.
Take into consideration the size of your child’s bedroom when choosing a bed.
You don’t want their bed to take over the whole bedroom. Make sure there is enough room for activities, play, dressing up, and many others.
Remember, the bedroom is not just for sleeping, it is for learning as well. At home, the kid’s bedroom will serve as the classroom.
So, are Montessori beds safe for babies? In general, Montessori beds are safe for babies as long as they are old enough to use them.
After addressing the safety considerations in your kid’s room, the next step is to create a Montessori-inspired environment that encourages exploration and provides enriching experiences.
It is crucial to prepare their bedroom in a manner that sparks curiosity and invites engagement.
If you are considering using this type of bed for your kid, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, make sure that the bed is the right size for your baby or toddler.
The bed should be low enough that the child can easily get in and out of it, but it should also be high enough that the child cannot roll out of bed.
Second, make sure that the bed is made with a comfortable mattress for your toddlers and children.
The mattress should be firm enough to provide support, but it should also be soft enough to be comfortable to help toddlers sleep soundly at night.
Finally, make sure that the bed is placed in a safe location. The bed should be away from any hazards, such as stairs or electrical outlets.
Are Montessori beds expensive? Most of these beds are costly like most Montessori furniture. But there are ways to be cost-effective. You can get a second-hand or restored beds. If you can’t afford one, a good mattress will do.
What if my child avoids the Montessori bed? In the first few days, it is expected that some children will not warm up to the new bed right away. There will be an adjustment period. Give them encouragement and time to adjust to the new bed. Do not be surprised if your child will sleep on the floor or the carpet before they start using the bed.
Can we put stuffed toys and other things on the Montessori floor bed? The beds should be minimalist. It should be kept clean and organized. No toys and clutter. If your child decides to play or read on the bed, they can but they have to return it to its proper storage after use. The bed should be a safe space for resting and sleeping.
What if my child falls off the bed? While there is a possibility of it happening, floor beds are positioned close to the ground, reducing the likelihood of serious injury. If you have concerns, starting with a mattress-only approach and selecting a low mattress can provide added reassurance. It’s important to remember that this experience serves as a valuable learning opportunity for your child. They will come to understand the consequences of getting too close to the bed’s edge and will become less likely to repeat it. Additionally, they will begin to develop the skills to safely descend from heights.