Over two years ago, I posted about our use of a Montessori-inspired approach to infancy–the floor bed. I have to admit, I love that post–I love looking back and remembering what a sweet baby MAM was. That post takes me back to that day–the day she couldn’t get back on her little bed that was maybe six inches off of the ground. She was such a love. My friend, sitemeter, tells me that many a mom is coming here to read about my floor bed. Because I wrote that post before the wee-one was mobile, I now feel obligated to tell you about the floor bed after mobility strikes. I will be honest–at times, it ain’t pretty.
In hindsight, as she became more and more mobile, we should have started to condition her to stay on her bed when it was time to sleep. With hindsight being 20/20, I can say now that we were stupid. The dear one started to fall asleep all over the room–after we’d put her down and rub her back, she’d be up the minute we closed the door. Sometimes she’d cry, but after a few minutes, she’d otherwise occupy herself, and eventually fall asleep. Sometime after her first birthday, she could reach the door knob, so we had to rig it so she’d couldn’t just walk out (since you know, she was walking around in her room, instead of napping). Here’s the thing though–she has just about always napped well and slept at night. Oh there were times we’d try to get her to stay on her bed to fall asleep, but she was much more strong-willed than I, and after an hour of putting her back on her bed each afternoon, I would just shut the door and walk away. Within minutes, she’d be asleep–on the floor, of course. There was a time this past summer where I’d sit by the door of her room every evening, pouncing on her should she get out of bed–but she would almost always outlast me. At 10:30pm, I didn’t care where she slept, I just wanted her to sleep. And sleep she would–on the floor, after I closed the door.
To this day, she likes sleeping on the floor. We recently bought her a Dora airbed for my parents’ house-she slept next to it on the floor all weekend long. Right now, as she sleeps off a fever, she’s sleeping on the floor.
Now that she’s 2 1/2, she’s starting to understand that concept a little better, and is understanding consequences as well, so she’s complying more often about sleeping on the bed. She understands when she gets in trouble after lights out and I walk in and she’s dancing in the middle of the floor.
Are you scared yet??? Should you be using a floor bed with an extremely mobile, somewhat strong willed child, good luck. I believe it has made her more independent, and I wouldn’t trade it for a crib, but I would definitely set stricter parameters if we do this again.
I would stay in the room or closer by until the baby fell asleep, to make sure she is sleeping on the bed. I think MAM never did this with me because she was used to me leaving (no problem when she was immobile). I would also take the time to get her to understand that even if she can open the door to her room, she won’t be opening the door to her room before she falls asleep.
Thanks for reading about our experience with the floor bed–it’s been quite the adventure!
3 Replies to “The Floor Bed: part two”
Hmmm- Kudos to you for being honest! I wondered how it was going, but assumed it was just peachy keen.
As I being to ponder how and when to move out of the crib to the toddler or floor or regular bed (so many pros and cons!), I have been afraid of the challenge of teaching him to STAY IN THERE once he’s easily able to get out.
As always, I’ll probably join you shortly in the frustrated at bedtime ranks…
I read your first blog and then this one. I am currently training to be a Montessori 0-3 guide and it’s the first time I ever heard of the floor bed. Of course everything I’ve heard during training has been 100% positive, so it’s nice to hear a real world story. I definitley see the advantages of the floor bed (my children both used cribs), but I really value your honesty since I will be talking to parents and I don’t have any experience with using the floor bed myself. I am curious about whether or not your child goes to a Montessori school now. My children do and that’s what sold me on the brillance of Dr. Montessori.
It’s neat to read that someone else has done this. We didn’t start out doing this – it was a move of sheer desperation. My daughter would – and still does – wake very easily if moved and never slept a night in her crib, so I began to nurse her to sleep on a twin mattress on the floor by my side of the bed – and there she’d remain all night.
At 16 months old, now she has her own room and her bed is still on the floor, but our challenges are a little different. Since she still nurses to sleep a lot of the time, she isn’t up playing around and we don’t close her door all the way. We do have a gate up in the hallway that only allows her to come into our bedroom. Our bed is also on the floor so she can climb in beside me in the middle of the night when she wakes up.
We are expecting again in September, so we’ll have to reevaluate all the freedom she’s become accustomed to at night. Sometimes the thought of that is a little overwhelming, but I’m still confident that we went down the right road for us at the time.
Thanks for sharing your story – I hope others who have done this share theirs as well!