What’s A Montessori?
The Montessori method of education was developed by Maria Montessori, an Italian physician. You may be wondering how an educational approach can possibly affect the way you design your child’s bedroom. While this method has a primary focus in education, a large number of its principles can be applied to any setting in which your child spends a great deal of their time. This, of course, includes their bedroom or nursery.
How to Create a Montessori Bedroom Design?
The primary focus of the Montessori Bedroom Design is to encourage your child’s independence by making everything more accessible to them. One of the trademarks of the Montessori Bedroom Design is a bed that lays flat on the floor as opposed to a traditional crib. If you are interested in implementing a Montessori Bedroom for your little one, you likely have many questions regarding the benefits and disadvantages, as well as how to create a Montessori Bedroom Design for your child. Let’s dig a little deeper into the Montessori Bedroom, shall we?
What Is A Montessori Bedroom?
The main focus of the Montessori Bedroom is to bring everything to the vantage point of your child’s perspective. Many of us approach designing our child’s bedroom from our own perspective, which means that everything is up higher – cribs, shelves, toys, clothes, etc. The Montessori Bedroom brings everything lower towards the floor, within your child’s reach.
Simplicity is key with the design approach. Montessori Bedrooms are typically light and neutral in color. Think white or muted, natural tones to promote a sense of calm and harmony. This allows your child’s attention to focus on more vibrant objects within the room, such as toys, pictures, and artwork. The lighting in your child’s room should be warm and soft with very little glare, and blackout shades are a great addition to create a cozy environment for napping.
The floor bed is an absolutely integral part of the Montessori Bedroom Design. Unlike a crib, the Montessori Toddler Bed promotes independence by allowing your child to experience the freedom of movement and mobility – rather than relying on a caretaker to pull them in and out of a crib. This bed also promotes your child to adhere to their own natural sleep and wake cycles.
Other elements, such as a changing or dressing area, should also be low to the ground and within arm’s reach of your child. Please note, if your child is under six months old, they should never be left unattended in their bedroom, especially if they are able to reach certain objects. For younger kids, it is best to leave a rattle or grasping toy nearby. Another way to promote independence in your toddler’s room is by switching out heavy, hard-to-reach drawers with cubbies and organizers.
Play areas in the room are also a fantastic way to promote independence and creativity – if space provides. You can mark this area with a soft rug and a low-lying shelf with room for some toys and books. Younger babies and newborns benefit most from a few vibrant, eye-catching toys and objects.
The Pros And Cons Of A Montessori Bedroom Design
Like any approach or method that applies to parenting and raising your child, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy. Every child is different and will react in their own way to different environments. Even though the Montessori Method has been praised by many, it doesn’t mean that it is a great fit for everyone, and you shouldn’t be discouraged if your child doesn’t take to it. Before deciding whether or not it is a good fit for your family, let’s explore the benefits and disadvantages of the Montessori Bedroom.
One of the most praised aspects of the Montessori Bedroom Design is that it promotes independence. The floor bed is especially helpful in promoting this as it allows your child to essentially have free reign of the bedroom. By putting the bed on the floor, you are providing your child with the option to get up and move around as they please.
Floor beds are also much easier to set up than cribs and also much easier to work around. Anyone who has put together a crib knows how much a headache it can cause. The floor bed is ready in just two easy steps. All you have to do is get a crib mattress and set it in place on the floor. You’re done – it is as simple as that!
Night feedings are much more manageable with floor beds. Rather than walking into your child’s room and pulling them out of a crib, you simply get down on the floor bed with them, and it’s perfect for either bottle or breastfeeding. This is also great for parents as it makes the process of night feedings much quicker and simpler.
One of the best things about a Montessori Bedroom Design is that there is very little clutter. While you have to take a few more precautions to ensure that the room provides a safe environment, you get to give many potential safety hazards to the boot. Streamlining your child’s toy choices causes fewer distractions and a much higher probability that your little one will be able to sleep better at night.
As I mentioned above, this approach is not necessarily the best method for every child. There are a few things that could make it less beneficial for some families. Falling is usually a primary concern for most parents. The important thing to remember is that they are only falling a couple of inches. If you are especially concerned that your child will fall out of their bed, you can roll up a towel and place it under their sheet to create a DIY bumper that will deter them from rolling off of the bed.
While the Montessori Bedroom Design is a great way to design your child’s bedroom, there is always the chance that your little one may hate it. If your kid doesn’t take to it, you shouldn’t consider your approach to be a failure! Figuring out what doesn’t work for your child is just as important as figuring out what does work. There is no need to force this method if it isn’t a good fit. It is best to introduce this as early as possible so that your child can acclimate to the conditions of the Montessori Bedroom.
One particular problem that many parents face is that their baby or toddler continuously gets out of the bed. If there is one thing that no parent wants to deal with, it is a baby that is up in the middle of the night playing with their toys. This is when simplicity really comes into effect for your child’s bedroom. If you have many toys and books that can act as distractions, consider removing anything excessive. If this is a persistent issue, consider using a regular bed while keeping the rest of their bedroom in line with the Montessori approach.
Follow These 5 Rules To Make Your Child’s Montessori Bedroom An Easy Success
Now that you have a better idea of the ins and outs of the Montessori Bedroom Design, let’s take a look at how you can easily implement this method in your child’s room. The best part of the Montessori Bedroom is that it thrives on simplicity – meaning much less work for you and your family! These tips will help to ensure that your child’s sleep schedule isn’t negatively impacted. The last thing I want to do is make it any harder to get your child to sleep. We all need that time to take a break. So, let’s take a look!
#1 Consider Your Child’s Temperament – And Be Patient…
Not every child starts off with success with the Montessori Bedroom, which is entirely understandable. Don’t get discouraged if the first few days of this don’t go as smoothly as you planned. For children who are a little more hyper or active, the free reign and ability to get in and out of bed as they please can cause a bit of an obstacle. If you are implementing the Montessori Bedroom when your child is already a toddler, it may take more time to get them to stay in bed. This is because they are used to being confined in a crib. The good news is that the appeal of getting out of bed during naptime and bedtime usually wears off before long.
However, if your child keeps getting out of the bed to play with toys or roam around their room, a bit of reinforcement or gentle re-direction to get back into bed is usually enough for them to comply. For some kids, playing or looking at their books is an excellent way to get them to wind down before taking a nap. It is up to you to decide whether your child is using this playtime as a pre-nap or pre-bed routine or if it is keeping them from getting enough sleep throughout the day and night.
#2 It Is Okay To Wait Until They Are Older
Remember, not every child is ready to move into a bed immediately once they turn a certain age. If you notice that your child is struggling to stay in bed or get enough sleep using the Montessori bed, then it may be best to wait until they are a little older and can understand why it is important to stay in bed. All children mature at different rates, so what worked for your oldest may not work for your youngest. Flexibility is key when implementing this new sleep style with your child.
There is nothing wrong with giving it a try and realizing that your child may not yet be ready to have free reign of their room. Independence is a fantastic trait to instill in your child, but it is not always the easiest. When I tried this with my oldest, she would spend over an hour playing with her toys, then sleep for only a half-hour or so, and then she was cranky for the rest of the day. Needless to say, this was not going to work for our family. We put her back into her crib until she was about 2 1/2, and she did much better the second time around. In contrast, our son latched onto this approach almost instantly and slept much better on his Montessori Bed.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that if your try the Montessori Bedroom Design and your child doesn’t respond well, it doesn’t mean that this is never going to work with your child – just that you may have to wait until they are a little older before trying again. You want this approach to work for you, not against you, which completely defeats the purpose. There is nothing wrong with waiting until they are old enough to understand that they have to stay in bed.
#3 Keep You Little One In Their Crib
Much like I mentioned above, every child is going to learn at their own pace. For some kids, this method is much more successful when they are a bit older. If your child can’t seem to stay in the Montessori bed, or they sleep better in their crib, then simply let them stay in their crib.
Switching kids to the floor bed too early is one of the most common hiccups that I have noticed when utilizing the Montessori method. Some children just aren’t ready to transition to a floor bed at a year and a half or two years old.
I generally recommend and have had the most personal success with switching my kids to the Montessori Bedroom Design at around two to four years old. This is when they seem the most open to change and are mature enough to understand that they have to stay in their beds during naptime. But, as I mentioned above, my oldest needed a bit more time to adjust. The best solution for us was to keep the rest of her room compliant with the Montessori design while we switched back to her crib. This allowed her to sleep well while also getting to experience some of the independence associated with keeping her toys, clothes, and books well within her reach.
We still saw a positive change in her creativity and ability to keep herself occupied throughout the day. If the floor bed is the most challenging part of implementing this approach, then simply do what you need to do until it is a better fit for your child. If you think they are better suited for a crib until they three or four, that is perfectly fine! This approach should create more peace and calm within your child and your family, not add any extra chaos.
#4 Be Patient
Any parent who introduces a new routine or working with their child through a phase knows that patience is key with anything and everything related to your kids. Sure, it would be much better for everyone involved if things moved a bit quicker, but that is just not always the case. Also, rushing a new routine or pushing something that is taking longer than you expected will likely only cause frustration and stress. These are two things that you certainly don’t want to be associated with nap time or bedtime.
Be kind to yourself and your little one as you are both trying out this new approach to their bedroom and sleep routines. You don’t need to make it work perfectly overnight, and that likely won’t happen anyway. Patience will make this process much easier and will actually be beneficial in the long run. By eliminating unrealistic expectations, you and your child get to try the Montessori Bedroom at your own pace without feeling like you have to achieve something on a particular timeline.
#5 Take Care Of Any Sleep Issues Before Starting
Finally, if your baby wakes up constantly, has trouble falling asleep, or is suffering from any other sleep issue, then you will certainly want to address that before introducing something new to their sleep routine. This is a situation that may be best addressed with your healthcare provider. They will be able to make recommendations regarding how you can help your child improve their sleep habits before switching to the Montessori Bedroom.
Keeping your child’s unique sleep history and behaviors in mind throughout this process will lead to a much more successful (read less stressful) process and result. Introducing this approach while your child is already having some trouble falling or staying asleep will likely add to the stress surrounding nap and bedtime.
The Montessori Bedroom Design is an excellent solution for many children, as well as their parents, who may want to introduce more creative thinking and independence to their children. Patience and considering your child’s unique behaviors, sleep patterns, and temperament are absolutely crucial in successfully transitioning them to this approach. Just remember, everyone has their own unique goals and situations when it relates to our families and what is most important is that you find something that works for everyone – that means baby and you!