365 days of the Montessori Floor Bed: is it still working?
Almost a year into the floor bed and things are still going strong. I wrote previously on the Montessori floor bed and a little of why we chose to go that route instead of with a crib (see post). Well, the decision was made and we have never looked back.
At first, I was nervous that the floor bed would give our daughter too much freedom in her room. The purpose of the bed is to instill the ability to make decisions and allow the baby to experience independence, albeit independence with limits. Yes, we baby proofed the whole room, but still, it’s a bit nerve racking to think of the baby deciding to get out of bed on her own to explore her room…and we don’t even have a video monitor!
I decided to put some board books and toys on the bottom shelf of the bookshelf in the room, that way, if Sophie wanted to play with something she would have a selection of things that were virtually indestructible. Recently I’ve added a few wooden puzzles within her reach and her favorite stuffed animals. Also, at night, I move the pillows (purely decorational) along with her blanket to the top of the changing table so she can’t get in to trouble with those.
This is how her typical morning goes: she wakes up, starts singing and babbling. She stirs, probably rolling around for a bit until she decides to crawl over to her bookshelf. Sophie is walking now, but she prefers to sleep with her sleep sack on and it’s difficult for her to walk in it – she has figured out that crawling still works fine. So, she’ll crawl over to her bookshelf and throw just about everything on the floor, sifting through each book, puzzle or animal deciding what to play with. I know this because I hear her on the monitor doing this. Then, she plays…and talks to herself. She’s been able to go for almost a whole hour at a stretch while my husband and I slowly wake up and roust ourselves. Now, I’m not sure how babies react to the morning in cribs since I have no experience with one, but our mornings are really good this way. She wakes up on her own time and is learning to amuse herself – no Mommy or Daddy to make her decisions for her. I think that is a valuable lesson, one that may just serve her well throughout her life.
I’d be lying if I said she never cries in the morning, but those seem to be getting fewer and farther between. It’s as if she knows that we’re here for her even if she doesn’t see us.
I should mention that naps are a different story. Sometimes it is the exact same routine as the morning. But, there have been plenty of days where she just won’t go to sleep or stay asleep. She refuses! And, those days she gets herself out of bed and throws a fit by the door. I know this because 1) I can hear her voice get louder and louder as she tries to look under the crack in the door to the hallway and 2) I’ve hit her with the door as I’ve entered the room. (FYI, I open the door very, very slowly now). But, I figure any kid refuses sleep some days and in a crib she’d throw the same tantrum, she just would have less mobility. Good, and bad.
Sophie has now taken to marching herself over to her bookshelf and playing during naps. Ultimately I’m OK with that as she is making her own decisions (within limits) and we stick to her schedule regardless if she gets a nap…if she’s extra sleepy when bed time comes around, then maybe she’ll eventually learn that nap time combats that. One can hope.
Overall, the floor bed is indeed teaching our daughter the lessons we wanted to teach her. Consequences stem from her own actions – not from some arbitrary “rule.”
And lastly, an added benefit I hadn’t realized: the bed is great for us as well. When she’s sick my husband and I have alternately curled up beside our daughter and rubbed her back during the night, comforted her in the wee hours of the morning while laying down, and lounged in her room while we play together. We are on the floor, yes, but not stooping over a bed rail, feeling our backs get increasingly sore. My knees talk to me more now but honestly I’d rather have that then back trouble!