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FLOOR BEDS: Why Modern-day Parents Are Ditching The Cot - By Taj Wallace

FLOOR BEDS: Why Modern-day Parents Are Ditching The Cot - By Taj Wallace

"Montessori is becoming popular with modern parents, and floor beds seem to be one of the key aspects leading the charge in the change... find out why so many parents are drawn to the unfamiliar idea of their little treasures sleeping on the floor.

If you find yourself going down a Pinterest or Instagram rabbit hole swooning over picture-perfect Montessori spaces, you'll notice there is a very obvious piece missing in the baby's nurseries... a baby cot.

An infant floor bed is an iconic part of Montessori philosophy - Dr Maria Montessori clearly expressed in her writings that young children, including babies, should be given a low bed on the floor to allow them to have free reign of their entire (baby-proofed) room, rather than being stuck in their cot.

“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. A child should be permitted to go to sleep when he is tired, to wake when he is rested, and to rise when he wishes. 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. Like all the new helps for a child’s psychic, a low bed is economical.”

– Dr. Maria Montessori, The Secret of the Childhood (p. 74)

While shocking for some more traditional parents, it's worth remembering that this isn't an uncommon thing in many other cultures around the world - the cot or crib is a fairly Westernized construct.

 

What are the benefits?

Overall, following a Montessori philosophy in your home will naturally encourage you to provide your babies and toddlers with lots of opportunities to make their own choices, practice their independence and experience freedom of movement. A floor bed completely supports all these opportunities.

Floor beds also convey respect to your child, which is another key principle in Montessori methodology. The sleeping arrangement is designed around the child's needs, rather than the adults.

Babies and toddlers learn quickly that they do not need to wait for you to collect them from their cots, but rather they are free to explore their environment. This is very empowering for a young child and leads to confidence, self-trust in their own abilities and the knowledge that they are capable, and able to make changes in their world. Considering 80% of the brain is developed in the first three years of life, having a child develop confidence like this will aid how they learn and feel about themselves and their capabilities throughout their life.

Some parents and caregivers also attribute floor beds to other, non-Montessori related benefits, like being able to lay down with their baby or toddler and being able to breastfeed comfortably overnight without having to move the baby around too much by picking them up.

 

Is a House Bed Montessori?

You might have noticed that floor beds for young children have been recently popular with the modern design of the cute wooden house bed, or tent bed - but these are just inspired by aesthetics.

If the bed is on the floor, regardless of the frame design, it is Montessori aligned.

 

Okay I'm ready... What do I need to know?

First, you don't need to go out and spend large amounts of money.

If you already have a cot, test the waters by simply storing away the frame, and moving the mattress onto the floor, and trying it out for a couple of nights!

If you decide to make it a permanent feature in your Montessori home ensure that your child's room is 100% proofed and safe. You might also consider a baby gate on the door, and a camera to keep an eye on your little one.

“Generally speaking the bed (crib) prepared for a newborn is inappropriate because it is small and surrounded by rails or other materials which interfere with free vision of the environment. The newborn is very attentive and capable of concentration. He needs to be able to practice focusing the eyes on objects in the room without being disrupted by the presence of bed rails…There is no need for any expensive equipment but only for “prepared persons” who understand what a newborn is and with intelligent love, offer valuable experiences to children…this is the significance of education as an “aid to life“.

Dr. Silvana Montanaro, MD, Understanding the Human Being (p. 26-27, 109)"

 

Authored by Taj Wallace of @montessoriathome.au 

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