Have you heard about Montessori floor beds and wondered if your child would benefit from using one? Ditching the traditional crib for a simple mattress on the floor can have many advantages for kids and make parents’ lives easier too.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Montessori floor beds. You’ll learn what they are, why they’re used, their benefits over cribs, how to choose the right one, safety considerations, tips for transitioning your child, and even how to make a DIY floor bed yourself.
Whether you want to save money with a homemade option or invest in a high-quality floor bed from a specialty shop, this article will walk you through the entire process start to finish. Read on to learn if a floor bed is right for your family!
What is a Montessori Floor Bed?
A Montessori floor bed is exactly what it sounds like – a mattress or futon placed directly on the floor, without a traditional bed frame or legs. It allows young children independence in getting in and out of bed on their own. The low height removes any risk of falling that could occur with a regular toddler bed.
Montessori floor beds are a hallmark of the Montessori educational philosophy pioneered by Maria Montessori in the early 1900s. Her method encourages children to be self-sufficient and independent. Sleeping in a floor bed from infancy allows babies and toddlers to get up, play quietly and put themselves back to sleep as needed.
Floor beds are used until around age 6 in Montessori settings. They can be an ideal alternative to cribs and toddler beds during the ages when kids start wanting more nighttime autonomy but may not be ready for a big kid bed yet.
Benefits of Montessori Floor Beds
Montessori floor beds offer many advantages over using a crib or toddler bed. Here are some of the top reasons parents choose floor beds:
Independence and Self-Sufficiency
The low height and open access of a floor bed allows children as young as 6 months old to get in and out by themselves. This builds confidence and self-esteem. Kids learn to self-soothe and put themselves back to sleep independently when they wake at night.
Since baby is already used to sleeping on a floor mattress, there is no need to transition from crib to toddler bed. This avoids the struggle of moving an older baby or toddler who is used to the confinement of a crib.
The openness can help some children feel less confined or trapped. This leads to better sleep when kids choose the floor bed over crib crying and climbing. Parents also report closer sleep proximity leads to longer stretches of deep sleep.
Extra Play Space
With just a mattress that can be moved around, you free up floor space in the nursery for playing, reading and learning during the day.
The low position makes it easier for infants learning to roll over, sit up, crawl and pull up to practice their new skills any time of day or night.
Removing barriers between parent and child can facilitate closer bonding. You can lie down next to your little one to breastfeed, cuddle, do tummy time or read bedtime stories.
Peace of Mind
Montessori floor beds eliminate the risks of climbing, falling and getting limbs stuck between crib slats. Kids are safest when their sleeping environment has no hazards.
As you can see, floor beds offer many benefits during the ages when children are gaining independence but still need parental care at night. The Montessori philosophy recognizes and supports this transition beautifully.
Considerations When Choosing a Floor Bed
If you decide a Montessori floor bed is right for your family, here are some key factors to consider when choosing one:
Age of Your Child
Floor beds can be used from infancy through age 3-6 years depending on your child’s needs. Think about what age range you want the bed to accommodate.
Newborns and infants may need firmer support so look for a density that will be comfortable but still offer stability when they start rolling and sitting up.
For toddlers, focus on finding a low-profile, durable mattress or futon they can get on and off without hurting themselves. Measure the height compared to your child’s body.
Consider the size of your nursery and how much floor space you can dedicate to the bed. Standard twin size is usually sufficient.
Bigger sizes can allow room for parents to lie down together with kids. But leave enough open floor area for playing, learning and reading during the day.
Floor beds can be made with:
- Futons – Traditional cotton-padded Japanese floor mattresses
- Mattresses – Floors mattresses designed for Montessori beds
- Baby mattresses – Infant-appropriate softer mattresses
- Toddler mattresses – More firm and durable for older babies
- Crib mattresses – Can be used if dimensions fit room
Think about your budget and what level of comfort and support your child needs at their age. Organic and natural materials are preferred by some parents.
Most floor beds do not need a frame. Some include a low-profile wooden platform for the mattress to sit on. This can elevate it just an inch or two off the floor.
For mobility impaired children, a frame may help get them off the floor. But standard Montessori floor beds do not use a frame.
Choose bedding appropriate to your child’s age. Crib sheets often fit twin mattresses. Waterproof covers can protect the mattress. Soft cotton blankets, quilts or sleeping bags can layer warmth and coziness.
Safety Tips for Montessori Floor Beds
While floor beds eliminate risks like falling and getting trapped, you do need to take some basic safety precautions:
- Use a non-toxic, firm mattress that won’t mold around baby’s face and cause suffocation.
- Don’t place bed near windows baby could reach and fall out of.
- Use a soft rug or mat around the bed to avoid hard floors if baby rolls off.
- Ensure the room is baby proofed with no choking hazards accessible.
- Always put baby to sleep on their back according to safe sleep guidelines.
- Stop swaddling when baby can roll over to avoid restricting movement.
- When baby becomes mobile, place bed against a wall to reduce open sides to roll off.
- Install childproof doorknob covers to keep toddlers from wandering at night.
- Use baby monitors and night lights so you can respond to needs at night.
With a few adjustments, you can make any sleeping environment hazard-free for your little one. The peace of mind of increased safety is one of the best parts of switching to a floor bed.
How to Transition Your Child to a Floor Bed
If your baby or toddler is used to sleeping in a crib, here are some tips for making the change go smoothly:
- Start by putting the floor bed next to the crib so they get used to it being around.
- Have naps in the floor bed for practice runs before moving there full time.
- Make it exciting, letting your child pick out new sheets or a stuffed animal for their new bed.
- Use a baby gate or montitors to keep them from wandering at first.
- Expect an adjustment period of 1-2 weeks for them to get settled in the new bed.
- If they are uneasy at first, lie down with them until they feel comfortable.
- Keep consistent bedtime routines like stories and songs to build familiarity.
- For older toddlers, explain the upcoming change so they know what to expect.
- Add some favorite toys or books near the bed so play and quiet time are associated with the new space.
- Offer lots of praise for self-soothing when they wake at night and put themselves back to sleep.
With patience and consistency, the floor bed will soon be their new favorite place to sleep and play.
How to Make a DIY Montessori Floor Bed
Looking for a budget homemade floor bed option? Check out these easy steps for a DIY Montessori floor bed:
- Twin or full size mattress, 6 inches deep or less
- Fitted sheet for mattress size
- Optional low-profile bed frame or platform
- Area rug or carpet square
- Select a low-profile twin mattress no more than 6 inches thick. Folding foam mattresses work well. Standard crib mattresses can also be used.
- Measure the space in your nursery to ensure the mattress will fit with at least a 2-foot buffer of open floor on all sides.
- Optional: Build a simple bed frame to elevate the mattress an inch or two. Use untreated pine planks with no splinters secured with natural wood glue and carpenter’s nails.
- Place the mattress directly on the floor or on your custom frame.
- Put on a fitted sheet designed for the mattress dimensions. Secure with sheet straps if needed.
- Add a soft area rug or carpet next to the bed for cushioned play space and in case child rolls off.
- Consider installing wall anchors and attaching heavy furniture like dressers and bookshelves to the studs for safety.
And that’s it! Your custom Montessori floor bed is complete for just the cost of a quality twin mattress and sheet. Follow the transition tips above and let your little one start sleeping safely and independently.
Top Floor Bed Options You Can Buy
Looking for a high-quality floor bed you don’t have to make yourself? Here are some top-rated options:
Traditional Japanese shikibuton mattresses make ideal Montessori floor beds. Brands like:
- FULI Japanese Traditional Shiki Futon
- EMOOR Japanese Traditional Classe Futon
- D&D Futon Furniture Serta Suite Dreams Futon
These come with removable covers for easy washing. Fold up neatly during the day.
Montessori or Low Profile Toddler Beds
Specialty retailers offer floor beds designed for Montessori use:
- Taylor Tot Montessori Floor Bed from Tiny Transitions
- Natural Wood Low-Profile Toddler Floor Bed from Copper Pearl
- Floor Bed Frame Bundle from Little River Montessori
Look for low-profile 5-6 inch mattresses with detachable rails you can remove as baby grows.
For non-toxic floor beds made from organic materials choose:
- Naturepedic Organic Cotton Classic Crib Mattress
- My Green Mattress Natural Escape Crib Mattress
- Oeuf Organic Cotton Mattress Pad
These offer removable waterproof covers and durable solid wood or steel platforms.
While pricier than DIY options, high-quality pre-made floor beds can last for years through multiple children. Investing in an organic allergen-free mattress brings peace of mind.
Hopefully this guide gave you all the information you need to decide if a Montessori floor bed is right for your family. You now know the many benefits they offer, safety guidelines to follow, tips for an easy transition, and both DIY and pre-made floor bed options to choose from.
The independence, mobility and safety that floor beds provide can help set your child up with healthy sleep habits that will last a lifetime. And eliminating bedtime struggles helps the whole family get better rest.
To recap, remember that:
- Floor beds promote independence, mobility and safety for young kids.
- Choose an organic mattress sized for your space and child’s age.
- Take basic safety precautions and baby proof the nursery.
- Allow 1-2 weeks to fully transition your child from a crib.
- DIY or buy high-quality pre-made Montessori floor beds.
I hope this guide gave you all the details you need to start your family on the journey of peaceful slumber and sweet dreams with a Montessori floor bed. If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out. Sleep tight!