Loading...Loading...
Discover the secret of childhood from 0-3 year old:

Nap and sleep

Parent Q&A: How do you keep your babies in bed on a floor bed?

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 10:07 pm | By Stephanie Woo

From Helen, mother of twins: I am really intrigued with the floor bed idea, but how would you keep your babies on it once they start moving and walking and would not want to go to bed or stay there as long as they should? do you close bedroom door? I know with my son, he never wanted to go to bed, but once we put him in his crib he had no choice but to fall asleep….

A: I noticed you used the words “as they should.” Whenever the word “should” is involved, there is a lack of freedom. Notice how you feel when you feel you “should” do something: “I should lose weight” “I should make more money” “I should be a better person.” “Should” comes with an invisible pressure and doesn’t allow someone to choose freely.  

When and if you decide to go with a floor bed, the idea is to give your child the freedom to choose when he sleeps and when he wakes. With my girls, who are crawling around, we close the door at bedtime and let them play till they are tired and fall asleep. Encourage your child to sleep because he is tired, not because he is confined and bored.

A baby has an internal rhythm, he knows within himself when he is tired. A floor bed respects this internal rhythm, whereas a crib imposes a rhythm on him – one that is set by mom and dad. 

In the long run, children who sleep in floor beds sleep longer and better because their natural sleep-wake rhythm is respected. When B and M were 6-7 months old, we put them to bed at 7pm. Mackenzie was almost never tired at that time, whereas Brooke would fall asleep often on the dot. I would close the door and Mackenzie would crawl around, play with her toys, talk to herself, crawl into the closet, sometimes she would even crawl into Brooke’s bed. All this time, I am in another room cooking or writing, and lo and behold, 15-40 minutes later, I would hear her little cry. I would walk into their room, pick her up, put her on her bed and she would be asleep in no time. No struggle at all. We’ve since changed their bedtime to 8pm, and both of them almost always falls asleep as they are finishing their bottles.  And if they don’t, then we do the same thing (see pictures below, taken the day after this post was written)

Another thing to consider is this: when a child is tired and you put him in the crib, he cries because he’s tired and he doesn’t want to be confined in the crib. It’s very common for those children to fall asleep only when they absolutely cannot hold on anymore. Whereas children who sleep on floor beds will cry because they are tired, but once you put them in bed, they sleep. Without that additional layer of complexity and struggle in their cry, it makes sleep easier for babies and LIFE better for moms and dads.

12:25pm Naptime. Mackenzie is already asleep, while Brooke is still playing

1:03pm I heard Brooke cry to be put in bed. I picked her up, fed her a little water and put her in bed. Fell asleep within minutes.

Parent Q&A: Floor bed vs Crib

Thursday, September 1st, 2011 10:07 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Q: After reading your blog, I’m thinking of putting my 15-month old in a floor bed. Do I just let him stay in there till he falls asleep? It’ll be so different from his crib, will he be able to fall asleep? He’s already walking, is it too late to put him a floor bed? What are the benefits of a floor bed at this age?

A: First of all, it’s great that you are considering putting him in a floor bed. It is not too late! The first couple of nights will be very new and exciting for him, so stay in the room with him and help him get used to it. Being in a floor bed is very different from being in a crib. Design the room in such a way that there is an area for sleeping (where you put the floor bed) and an area for playing. Designate a toy mat or a toy area where you keep all his toys.  It should be an area he can see when he wakes up. Make sure his toys are not strewn all over the floor or all over his bed (after he plays with them, they will get everywhere, all parents know THIS, but when you tidy up, put them all on the toy mat).  Let the child know the order of the room, “Over here is where I sleep. And when I wake up, I get out of bed and come here to play with my toys.”

The most important benefit of a floor bed is the sense of freedom it gives your child. He gets to decide things for himself.  He gets to decide when he gets into and out of bed. The problem with containers like cribs, high chairs, etc, is that the child is helpless and dependent on the adult to get him in and out. The only way he can get out of these contraptions is through CRYING. Therefore, crying becomes a learned behavior – it is due to HELPLESSNESS.

When you put a baby in a floor bed or give him a small child-size table and chair for eating that he can get in and out of by himself, HE DOESN’T HAVE TO CRY TO GET ANYTHING. He can decide for himself and do it by himself. Through this freedom to decide for himself, he develops self-discipline. When everything is decided for him, the discipline comes from the outside. He doesn’t learn self-discipline till he is older and, like we all know, it is much harder to learn it when you’re older, if at all! Self-discipline is a skill that you want to teach your child from a young age, and miraculously, it comes from the freedom they get to choose for themselves….starting from something as basic as when he gets out of bed!

Simple Principle: More Freedom = less crying + a more self-disciplined child.