As an Amazon Associate we may earn from qualifying purchases.
The Topponcino Company recommends following the American Academy of Pediatrics sleep guidelines. Please review the guidlines and choose what is best for your family.
Some parents balk at the prospect of having their children sleep on the floor, but Montessori beds have changed the game. This type of bed is essentially a mattress on the floor, sometimes set upon a short frame. They’re designed to encourage independence in children and ownership over their environment. Parents often transition their child to a Montessori bed between five and ten months, using a crib mattress or other firm mattress for safe sleep.
Although the idea of your child sleeping on the floor may sound strange, it’s been practiced for a long time and by many cultures around the world. The benefits are also incredibly rewarding, which is why it’s worth considering switching to a Montessori bed for your child.
Let's break down what is a Montessori floor bed, benefits of a floor bed, and the logistics of when and how to transition to a floor bed.
What is a Montessori Bed?
Maria Montessori's method of raising a child revolves around following the child's lead, treating the child as a complete person, and providing the child a prepared environment to maximize independent growth and development. You can learn more about Maria Montessori and her methodology in our Quick Look at the Life of Maria Montessori.
So, what is a Montessori bed? A Montessori bed picks up Maria Montessori's methods by providing the child the freedom to move around their room and independence in choosing to stay in or leave their bed.
A Montessori bed is a bed on the floor, typically placed directly on the ground or on a very short frame with no box spring. This means there’s no need for the child to ‘jump’ or ‘climb’ just to get into the bed. Given its short height, it is accessible to your child from a very young age, putting it very much within their reach even as a baby.
A floor bed gives your child initiative and independence since they are free to move around rather than being confined in a crib. This allows your child to make decisions and go through new experiences from a very young age that will help them grow and develop confidence and independence.
When children are confined to a crib, their movement and vision are limited, restricting their experiences. However, a floor bed, instead of a crib, allows them to explore a bigger world. When you first transition to a Montessori bed, they might find themselves rolling onto the carpet or soft pad, but that’s a natural part of the adjustment period. They’ll feel very excited about inspecting their surroundings. However, eventually, they’ll regard the bed as their designated sleeping space and start to manage their behavior accordingly, like putting themselves to bed when they feel tired.
Hapa Family has a great video answering all your floor bed questions!
How Can a Montessori Bed Benefit Your Children?
There are many benefits of a floor bed! Let's start with the benefits of a floor bed instead of a crib.
When a child is stuck in a crib, it won’t satiate their curiosity as they are confined to seeing the world through bars. A crib limits a child's range of movement to a very small area and removes their independence to move about their room. Freedom of movement is a crucial part of raising your child in the Montessori way.
Putting your child on a floor bed allows them to act on their impulses, learn from them, and adjust to their surroundings. It fosters ownership of themselves and their environment, making them more independent.
The Montessori bed becomes their ‘home base,’ and everything else is the ‘wild,’ full of exciting possibilities they can’t wait to explore. They will feel confident enough to act on their curiosity, changing their environment by interacting with it. They’ll start to notice their sleep cues and boundaries while developing their autonomy and decision-making. For instance, they’ll debate between sleeping or playing and when to do it. This scenario will pave the way for more complicated choices, fostering self-control at an early age.
Logistics of a Montessori Floor Bed
The "when" and "how" of implementing a Montessori floor bed can be daunting to some families. But don't worry, we have you covered!
When Should Your Child Start Using a Montessori Bed?
The good news is that there isn’t a concrete age you should start transitioning your child to a floor bed. You can make the transition whenever works for your family! Most followers of the Montessori method avoid the use of cribs and begin the use of a floor bed when the child starts to sit up and move by themselves. You can move your child from your bassinet or cradle to a floor bed, or do it more gradually, putting them in a floor bed when they’re older.
We should again note that The Topponcino Company recommends following the American Academy of Pediatrics sleep guidelines. Please review the guidelines when deciding what is best for your family!
If you start your child in a floor bed right away, you won’t have to purchase a crib, helping you save money. Your child will also absorb their surroundings faster and develop their ability to move around. Then you don't have to worry about how to transition from a crib to a floor bed later on.
If you decide to wait until your child is older, you can still transition from a crib to a floor bed later in their life. They may struggle in the first few days because of their newfound freedom, but they’ll eventually establish regular sleeping patterns and their independence will teach them when they are tired and ready to sleep.
How to Set Up a Montessori Bed?
As recommended by the AAP, you should always place your child to sleep on a firm mattress without the addition of blankets or toys. Please review the AAP guidelines for safe sleep when setting up your Montessori floor bed!
To set up a Montessori floor bed, you simply can put a children's mattress on the floor or find a bed frame that keeps the bed more accessible to the child such as Sprout Kid's Montessori Floor Bed. Be aware that some "Montessori Floor Bed" products do not follow the freedom of movement ideas that Maria Montessori originally recommends. Try to avoid rails or other restraints as these constrain the child contrary to the Montessori ideals and can increase sleep hazards.
Many parents ask, can you put a crib mattress on the floor? And the answer is, yes! A crib mattress on the floor is a great first step to creating a Montessori room for your child. Some parents are worried that a crib mattress on the floor may cause mold issues due to lack of circulation under the bed. A short bed frame can solve this problem, but will raise the bed slightly higher and may make it more difficult for the child to enter and exit the bed. Depending on the child's age, a mattress directly on the floor may be your best option for the short time period that the child is learning their new bed environment.
If you are worried about your child falling out of bed, you can place a mat around the edge of the bed or reevaluate whether your child is ready to use a floor bed. Most children learn the boundaries of their bed once they are able to roll and crawl independently, but may accidentally fall out while learning. This is a normal step of becoming an independent sleeper and as a parent, your role is to not inhibit the learning process, but keep them safe during the learning process.
Once your child can move in and out of the bed, it is important to remove all safety hazards in the room. Montessori advises creating a prepared environment for your child. This means that in their room, all furniture and objects should be safe and enjoyable for the child to interact with. This includes child safety-proofing the room's electronics, dresser, and other furniture. Review the AAP checklist for anchoring furniture and the AAP article about transitioning a child out of their crib.
Montessori floor beds give your children a head start on developing self-awareness, independence, and familiarity with their surroundings. Children are in bed for a majority of their lives and the bed can be a great "home base" for learning movement and boundaries. By switching to a Montessori bed, you’ll open a new, stimulating world for your child!
The Topponcino Company sells soft, mat-like Montessori baby pillows that offer the comfort, support, and consistency that a baby needs during the first few months of life. Before the use of a floor bed, you can use our original or organic Topponcino to provide comfort to your newborn while holding, rocking, or passing them between people. The Topponcino is not a sleep product and should be used only while your baby is awake. Buy yours today to witness a transformation in your child’s life!