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Montessori bed: characteristics and benefits

It’s easy to say “Montessori.” But what really is a Montessori bed and what are its characteristics? What benefits does it offer and at what age can it be used?

There’s a lot of confusion and approximation out there. At Babylodge®, we covered it first, several years ago, before Montessori method became a trend and everyone had their say.

Let’s try to clarify, starting from Maria Montessori herself and her words.

Maria Montessori, babylodge

“The child should have the right to sleep when he is sleepy, to wake when he has slept enough, and to get up as soon as he likes […] We therefore advise that the old child’s cot should be done away with, and that in its place a very low bed should be made, which the child can enter or leave when he pleases.”

The secret of childhood, Maria Montessori, 1934.

Montessori bed: what is it and what are its characteristics?

The Montessori bed is a bed for children that allows them to use it in a free and autonomous way, from a very young age. To be considered Montessori, the bed must have the following characteristics:

"FLOOR LEVEL" BASE

The height of the bed base must be "almost flush with the floor," allowing the child to access it independently and safely.

NO BARS OR BARRIERS

Access to the bed should always be open, allowing the child to use it as and when he desires, without the need for adult intervention.

NO STEPS OR STAIRS

There should be no obstacles that make it difficult for the child to enter or exit the bed, especially with young children.

Almost a century has passed since Maria Montessori first emphasized the importance of surrounding children with furniture tailored to their abilities, starting with the bed.

An apparently simple and trivial insight, but with revolutionary implications: this dismantles the traditional dynamic of adult “control” over children, in favor of their freedom and autonomy. The parent is then called upon to listen to the child’s needs and to help him “do it himself”, according to his own pace, abilities, and preferences.

Montessori bed: from what age can it be used?

Baby boy crawls happily towards his Montessori bed
Bimbo piccolo gattona felice verso il suo letto Montessori a forma di capanna

Maria Montessori does not provide specific indications in this regard. In general, we can agree that there is no unique and universally applicable moment: each family knows and decides what is best for themselves and their child, in the times and ways that are most congenial to them.

However, there is a particular phase from which the child can get the maximum benefit from the Montessori bed: crawling.

From crawling

Crawling, typically between 7 and 9 months of age, is a vital moment in infant development. During this phase, the child begins to:

  • become aware of his body and motor skills;
  • realize that he can control his movements, just like he sees adults do.

Characterized by a strong desire for exploration, this is a crucial stage from every perspective: motor, cognitive, and emotional. Adopting the Montessori bed at this particular moment of development allows the child to not suppress his curiosity but to fully develop it, gradually learning to “do it himself.”

From birth

Some parents choose the Montessori bed right from birth. The benefits of this choice are:

  • the child gets used to a free and open environment since the beginning of his life;
  • there won’t be any particular transitions to face as he grows up;
  • no need to purchase cribs, bassinets, or other temporary solutions.

Of course, it is important to complement the setup with typical accessories that accompany the baby’s first months of life. Such as a baby nest, useful for containing the baby in a safe and protected area, soft and enveloping, similar to the maternal womb.

Regardless of when the adoption of the Montessori bed occurs (provided it truly possesses the characteristics described above), it’s important that the child’s room is made safe: the child must be able to move freely, yes, but without danger.

Furthermore, small additional touches can greatly contribute to the child’s well-being. For example, providing a small night light can help him feel less disoriented in case of nighttime wakefulness. Or adding a rug next to the bed can make the surrounding space more comfortable.

Montessori beds: which benefits?

mom and dad read a book together to their little girl on her Montessori four poster bed
mom and dad read a book together to their little girl on her Montessori four poster bed

Choosing a (true) Montessori bed brings remarkable benefits to the child, parents, and more generally, to the entire family household. The advantages are varied and touch upon different aspects: motor skills, cognitive development, practicality, and emotional well-being.

We have summarized them below. To delve deeper, click on the arrow next to each title.

The child can enter and exit his bed independently, according to his own pace, preferences, and needs.
This gradually leads the child to greater self-awareness and understanding of his own needs, and to a physically, cognitively, and emotionally more autonomous development.

Since it is free of bars, the bed is not experienced by the child as a place of “constraint” but as a space of freedom.
Going to bed is no longer seen as coercion, a unilateral imposition of the adult’s will on the child’s, but rather a freely shared activity, a new ritual of joy, play, and serenity.

No risk of falling: you don’t fall off the ground. 🙂
Moreover, without bars, the sense of imprisonment and the frustration of not being able to decide autonomously disappear completely. If the child wants to get up upon waking, they can do so without having to climb over bars like an escapee, risking injury.

Without restrictive and containing elements, the child feels the trust of his parents, and thanks to this, he can develop self-esteem and confidence in his abilities.

With no barriers, during the delicate phase of falling asleep, there is continuity of contact between mother and child, both physical and emotional. This aspect is particularly important with the youngest ones.

The management of falling asleep completely changes and becomes more comfortable, practical, and natural.
Instead of putting their child to sleep in their arms, bending down and laying him down into the crib with bars, mom and dad can sit or lie down next to him, stay close, and wait for him to fall asleep.

Gradually, the bedtime routine – both daytime naps and nighttime sleep – will become more regular and consistent.

Montessori bed: our experience

At Babylodge®, we have the fortune and honor of entering the homes of many families and furnishing the bedrooms of many children. We meet and have met many moms and dads, each with their own doubts and fears.
Having some perplexity at the beginning is absolutely normal: choosing a Montessori bed challenges a deeply rooted cultural heritage in us parents. It urges us to focus on the real needs of the child, rather than the need to reassure ourselves.

That’s why choosing a Montessori bed is a great act of love and trust towards our children.

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