The floor bed is one of the symbols of a Montessori household.
While traditional cribs have their advantages, many of their features are in sharp contrast to the Montessori philosophy – especially when it comes to freedom of movement and independence of a child.
After all, it was Dr. Maria Montessori who recommended floor beds instead of traditional baby cribs in one of her writings:
“One of the greatest helps that could be given to the psychological development of a child would be to give him a bed suited to his needs and cease making him sleep longer than necessary…
This is why we suggest that the typical child’s bed should be done away with as has already been done in many families. The child instead should be given a low couch resting practically upon the floor, where he can lie down and get up as he wishes.”
So, let’s take a closer look at why a floor bed may be a great option for your child’s sleeping area.
Advantages of a floor bed
The floor bed is not just a current Pinterest trend. Sleeping on the floor is quite natural and normal in many cultures across the world.
In addition, floor beds actually have many advantages when compared to traditional baby cribs. Here are some of them:
1. It promotes freedom of movement
A child sleeping in a crib must be put inside and wait until the parent takes him or her out. This limits their freedom of movement and choice and creates an unnecessary dependence in such a natural process as sleeping.
With a floor bed, on the other hand, they are free to move and get in and out of the bed without any help from the parent. For example, they can simply crawl off their bed and go playing as soon as they wake up in the morning.
This way, children can explore their own independence and get a sense of control.
2. There are no cage-like bars
From a very early age, children learn a lot from observing their surroundings.
They observe the life of the family and their every-day habits as well as the beauty of the world. It is hard to enjoy and benefit from their view if it is blocked by the bars of the crib.
3. It is easier for nursing
Parents do carry their children a lot – especially if their little one cries a lot. Taking the child out of the crib (which can be quite frequent at night) can be difficult for the spine.
It is much easier to lie next to your child and do the side-lying nursing. A floor bed is ideal for that.
4. It is safer
Infants and toddlers can be very talented climbers and quite often, the crib fence is not a real obstacle for them. In fact, cribs are associated with the highest child injury rates of any nursery item.
On the other hand, if you put your child on a floor mattress you don’t have to worry about safety that much. If they roll out from the mattress, they will fall safely on a floor that is just a few inches away.
5. It makes the transition to a big bed easier
Older toddlers who have been protected all their life by the crib walls may find it difficult to transition to a bigger bed.
By sleeping on a low mattress, children learn about their surroundings naturally and get some practice ahead. That’s why the transition to a bigger bed is usually not an issue in Montessori families who use floor beds.
Best Montessori floor beds
What makes a good Montessori floor bed?
It is probably no surprise that the most important component of a floor bed is a quality mattress. Get one, put it on the floor and you have a Montessori bed. Yes, it’s that simple 🙂
Just make sure it is firm enough, breathable and hypoallergenic. And of course, it should meet the safety standards.
The vast majority of the commercially sold mattresses fulfill all of these requirements so it’s really hard to pick a bad one.
Here are some great child matresses from Amazon:
- Milliard Premium Memory Foam Hypoallergenic Mattress (crib size)
- Graco Premium Foam Crib and Toddler Mattress (crib size)
- Newton Baby Crib Mattress and Toddler Bed (crib size)
- Linenspa 8-Inch Memory Foam Medium-Firm Mattress (twin size)
- Linenspa 6-Inch Spring Mattress (twin size)
Of course, the most recognizable part of the Montessori bed is the iconic wooden house-like frame that can be customized in many ways to create a sense of a dedicated, personalized, and aesthetically-pleasing sleeping place.
Let’s take a look at the best Montessori floor bed frames:
Sweedi Toddler Bed by South Shore
This simple, sturdy South Shore bed with clean lines made from natural poplar wood is a great choice. One of the biggest advantages of this model is the removable crossbar that will prevent you from hitting your head when playing with the child. Fits any crib-size mattress.
Available sizes: Crib size
ThePinnedPurveyor House Bed
This high-quality US-made bed provides a great frame for a beautiful sleeping area for your little one. It comes in various sizes and styles (you can order the model with or without the mattress slates) and it’s quite easy to assemble.
Available sizes: Twin size, Full Size, Queen Size
Premium Wood Children Toddler House by UHOM
The UHOM Montessori floor bed comes in two sizes and various designs, including a double bed (the bottom bed can be pulled out). You can also order a certified 3D sponge memory foam mattress by the same manufacturer that fits the bed perfectly.
Available sizes: Crib size, Twin size
House Bed Twin Size with a Fence by Meritline
If you want to make sure your child doesn’t fall from the floor bed, this model is equipped with practical side fences that provide extra safety for your little one. The bed is made from sturdy pinewood and comes in 3 different colors (espresso, gray, or white) and various styles. It fits any Twin size mattress.
Available sizes: Twin size
Common questions and worries
Here are the answers to the most common questions and worries of parents considering a floor bed for their child.
Are Montessori floor beds safe?
Well, think about the worst that can happen – falling on the floor that is just a few inches away (as opposed to the cribs that are much higher and falling on the floor may be much more dangerous for a child).
If your baby is small and you worry she or he is still very fragile, you can consider using bed bumpers (like these on Etsy) that will help prevent the baby from hitting the wall and falling from the mattress.
Of course, if you decide to have a floor bed, you must ensure that it is completely safe for your child to be in the bedroom for a while alone.
If you decide to apply the Montessori approach to sleeping, you should definitely look at the Montessori household from a wider perspective and learn about how to create a Montessori-friendly space.
Won’t the child be cold when lying on the floor?
Poorly insulated houses with cold floors were one of the main reasons why cribs became popular in the 1900s.
There’s no real reason to worry about it with today’s technology. If your house is a bit colder, you can consider putting some extra padding between the mattress and the floor.
It can be a carpet, a baby mat, or simple foam tiles that provide extra insulation between the floor and the bed/mattress.
What if the child won’t stay in the bed?
Now, this problem is very individual, as every child is unique and their sleep patterns differ.
The experience of many parents with floor beds is very positive. They observe that children are much more willing to go to bed when it’s “on their own terms” as opposed to staying in a crib because they don’t have any other option.
That being said, the kids are curious little creatures. Even though children in Montessori households are encouraged to fall asleep and wake up independently (to regulate their own sleep patterns), we all know the reality may be different 🙂
It may take some time until your little one gets used to the newly-acquired freedom but it will most probably be sooner than you think.
Tip: Find more Montessori-friendly pieces of furniture for your household in our Montessori furniture guide.