A few months ago I was contacted by the lovely Jeanne-Marie Paynel of Voila Montessori in San Diego.
She is a former Montessori teacher, and now a Montessori consultant, and she wanted to know if she could help me make more home more child-centered.
There was no hesitation! OF COURSE!!!
She came to our home at the best time, soon after we moved to a new house, and right about the time I was ready for my daughter to transition from her bassinet next to my bed to her own room. We had talked about a Montessori floor bed while I was still pregnant, and I did a lot of research on it then. As interesting as it sounded to me, I wasn’t comfortable starting with it.
In the early days and months, I love having my babies close to me. My daughter turned out to be a fantastic sleeper, but I still wanted her in my room. When she was about four months old we went through a few transitions that signaled it was time for us to have a little more space — mostly because my husband and I would wake her up with our movements, and she would wake us up.
(This has nothing to do with the floor bed, but I cried. Every milestone with my sweet baby girl has reduced me to tears, even though she very clearly expresses she is ready.)
I worried the transition to her own room would be difficult, but it turned out to be a breeze.
1. Have good sleep habits already established. S already had a set bedtime, a routine that worked for us, and was already sleeping for large chunks through most of the night. Because there were so many elements that remained the same (taking a bath, putting on a diaper, getting into pajamas, nursing her, and singing a lullaby), changing the location didn’t seem like that big of a deal for either of us.
2. Keep some physical elements the same. The first night in her new room, I simply put her bassinet on top of the mattress. When she had no problems with that, I took the bassinet mattress out and laid it on the bed for the second night. When that was a breeze, she slept on the floor bed by itself the third night. Her blanket has remained the same. I think the familiar smells and sensations of her old bedding made the transition easier because it didn’t seem like a completely new and exotic place. Many more things remained the same instead of changing.
3. Choose a developmentally appropriate time. My daughter was about four months old when I transitioned her to her floor bed, but I think the age is less important than where a child (and parents) are developmentally. For some families it makes sense to use one from the start, and it’s easier to do before a baby is mobile. S was just starting to roll over and scoot. It was only a few weeks in the bed when I found her across the floor in the morning, exploring her room and playing with toys, which is exactly what I hoped for. About a month later she was able to bring herself back up onto the bed. So far we haven’t had issues with her moving around at night or at naps. She knows when it’s time to sleep, and she stays in her little corner until she’s ready to wake.
So far the Montessori floor bed has worked perfectly for us. I especially like it because on the nights when she’s needed me close, I’ve been able to lay next to her easily. The only downside is her brothers sometimes track dirt on it. Of course that is a side-effect of their being able to spend time with her (and enjoy spending time with her!), so for us it’s a minor complaint.
For more information about a Montessori floor bed and how to make it work in your home, check out Voila Montessori!
Photo credit: my own.