How To Know If A Montessori Floor Bed Is Right For Your Child
Whether you are following the Montessori method or are simply considering a low bed for other reasons, there are many benefits of a Montessori floor bed for younger children. Personally I found having low beds brilliant for my three (now older) children- I liked the fact that from a young age they had freedom of movement, safety from falling off the edge of the bed, and had their bed as part of their play environment instead of separate from it.
It helped create a positive mentality for my children around the bed, a happy bedtime routine and healthy sleep habits. In this article I will outline where the idea of a floor bed stems from; the benefits of a Montessori floor bed, and the 4 beds I would consider for my own children if I were choosing for them today. If you are interested in Montessori or alternative parenting, do have a look at my gentle parenting blog and home education blog as well as these Montessori-friendly activity books and downloads for children.
Where Did The Montessori Floor Bed Come From?
Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and expert in child development, created the Montessori approach- a way of approaching childhood based around the Montessori principles. These includes respecting children; educating the whole child; individualised learning and the freedom of movement and choice (among others). Maria Montessori’s philosophy included great attention to the child’s environment. A Montessori environment is accessible to children- toys and resources are within a child’s reach, for example, and furniture is appropriately sized for the child, whether young children or an older child. A Montessori bedroom, therefore, will have a child’s own bed with plenty of room for them to move, and the idea of the floor bed is that they can move freely in and out of it safely.
4 Main Benefits of A Floor Bed
Safety: Having a bed more suited to the child’s level (toddlers often like to play on the floor) means that they can get in and out safely, so potential hazards are reduced. If they need to come to you in the middle of the night, or are finished with nap time, they can simply get up without the risk of falling- creating a safe sleep space for your little one in their own room.
Better play environment: Maria Montessori’s philosophy included the idea that children should be able to access and see their environment clearly; Montessori toddler beds on the floor mean that a child’s view of their room is unobstructed. They also have more room to play as the popular floor bed frame (when combined with a firm mattress) acts as part of the floor, rather than a typical bed that blocks off that area for the child.
Independence: This is highly valued in a Montessori nursery or home, and is an important thing for a child to experience. Dr. Montessori believed that children should be allowed to do as much for themselves as they could- this is why toys and resources are kept within a child’s reach, so they can get them out and put them away by themselves (within reason). Having a floor bed is s great way to give young children a little bit of independence and ownership over their environment and movement, and to learn to listen to their own sleep cues.
Aesthetic: Although this is not an important reason, floor beds are generally very attractive and make the child’s room look nicer than those with traditional raised beds. They come in a range of finishes such as Appalachian poplar and natural solid wood, and a trendy option is the ‘house-style bed’ (I’ll go through options below).
How Old Do Children Need To Be For A Floor Bed?
This is ultimately the parents’ choice, but many parents following Maria Montessori’s philosophy consider the perfect transition time to be between 5-10 months of age, or when the child starts to sit up and move around by themselves. As with any child sleep space it should be a safe place, with minimal soft furnishings (ideally just your child, without pillows etc). If it’s your first baby you may wish to wait a little longer; if you have a big kid in the house and this is your second baby (or more) you may be more confident about the transition to their own bed.
How To Transition
You may wish to start off using the bed for nap times at first; laying or napping for a little time with your child as they settle into their new bed is a great idea and an easy intro to their new environment. You may find that your little one ends up on the floor the first few times they use it, as they explore their space and find out how to use their bed. Given time, they will soon get used to
6 Top Bed Picks (3 for UK, 3 for USA):
UK Montessori Floor Beds
This is currently one of the most popular style of Montessori flood bed. The sturdy wooden bed frame comes in several sizes- toddler, single, small double or full double bed. It is available in natural wood, gray or white and takes one hour to put together at home. The seller is offering free UK delivery which is a serious plus point for furniture this size!
Made from natural Scandinavian solid pine and manufactured in Britain, this bed is ideal as a simple, unobtrusive floor bed and can be painted or left natural. At under £75 this is an absolute steal and over half the ratings are 5*. Assembly can be added for £50 or it can be done yourself in around 30 minutes.
VidaXL Solid Pine Tipi Design Floor Bed via Amazon
This is incredible value and a really lovely bed at under £90. The product description does say this bed is from aged 4 and up, so if you are looking for a floor bed for your older child this is ideal. Choose from grey, white or natural wood, and pop it together yourself or have someone do it for you for just £29!
USA Montessori Floor Beds
Montessori Floor Bed with house headboard via Amazon
Made from eco-friendly, non-toxic materials, this alder wood floor bed is a beautiful addition to any child’s Montessori bedroom. It comes in 4 sizes, and is available in 4 color schemes including pink and blue as well as several more neutral colors.
The classic Scandic-style floor bed with a frame in the same of a house, this is an ideal choice if you are looking for a stylish good fit for your child’s bedroom. The bed is at your child’s level and is made from a sturdy metal frame, ideal for explorative and energetic kids. The weight limit is 250lb and the bed takes a twin full size mattress.
Natural Wood Bed In ‘Play Pen’ Style via Amazon
If your little one is a roller, or likes the feeling of being a little bit ‘tucked in’ at night, this floor bed is is very good option. It’s fully accessible through a cute gate, while creating a cosy area for your child with the 20-inch sides. It comes in light to medium tan natural alder wood and is made of eco-friendly non-toxic materials, and has no weight limit on the sleep platform.
A way to help your child explore the world…
A bed at your child’s level is a great place for your little one to explore, take ownership of their environment, develop great sleep habits and health independence. My own experiences of my kids sleeping at floor level have been great, and I hope that you find them just as brilliant as I did!