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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.

Reader Comments (5)

  1. So if 15 months isn't too late, when is a good time to start?

    Friday, September 2nd, 2011 12:39 pm | Julie Seltz
  2. Hi Julie, a good time to start is when your baby is 2-3 months old. See this post for more information: https://montessorionthedouble.com/2011/09/03/the-basics-of-floor-bed/

    Saturday, September 3rd, 2011 10:24 am | Stephanie Woo
  3. I think that crib is a better choice, provided that it is durable. You can easily lift and put your baby to sleep in an elevated bed.

    Monday, December 26th, 2011 11:14 pm | Cosyplay
  4. Oh how I wish I'd known more about Montessori and these methods before I had my twins. Even finding your blog sooner would have helped! My are already 27 months, but I read what yours are doing and it blows me away! Well done.
    I have been trying to incorporate some of your ideas into our daily routine, but they are very resistant.
    The crib thing is something I don't want to change! At this age, I think it will be so much chaos. In fact, I just blogged about it an hour before reading this post. When they were younger, I think it would've gone better, but now…I can't imagine the craziness. I'm very conflicted.

    Wednesday, May 9th, 2012 8:51 pm | Pufferfish
  5. Pufferfish,

    27 months is still very young! Maybe floor bed is not the way to go for them, but it really is about incorporating the ideas behind a floor bed into your life – giving them more independence, teaching them do more things for themselves, like putting on shoes, getting in and out of stroller, eating by themselves, choosing what to eat, etc. Letting them make certain choices that you can live with. Like giving them each two outfits in the morning and letting them choose which one they want to wear. A great book to consider reading is, "How to raise an amazing child the Montessori Way." I really like some of the recommendations they have for children in the 2-4 range. Let me know how things progress with you and your twins!


    Friday, May 25th, 2012 4:00 pm | Stephanie Woo

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