A recent surge of interest in the Montessori Method, coupled with increased time spent working and learning remotely, means parents are becoming more interested in setting up Montessori-aligned home environments for their children. One topic that has got a lot of people talking is Montessori beds. In this short guide, we’ll walk you through what a Montessori bed is, why you might consider putting one in your child’s bedroom, and offer a selection of places where they are available for purchase.
What is a Montessori bed?
First things first—technically, there’s no such thing as a "Montessori bed." Instead, there are beds inspired by the general principles that make up the Montessori Method. The inventor of the method, Dr. Maria Montessori, believed that children thrive when given the freedom to move and learn independently. So, generally speaking, a Montessori bed is a mattress without restrictive railings around it, close enough to the floor so that the child can get in and out of it by himself.
If we apply this philosophy to the Montessori-inspired bedroom, floor beds are the ideal choice. The common alternative of cribs and bassinets restrict a child’s ability to move freely. What does “freely” mean within the context of a crib? If you think about it, kids can move around in cribs; they have some degree of freedom. However, an infant or toddler is confined to their sleep space when in a crib, which keeps them dependent on an adult to help them out when they are ready to move, to play, to engage, or practice self-care skills that the entirety of their bedroom is supposed to offer. The early years are a time when physical movement is so important for children, and choosing to use a floor bed can encourage them to continue practising their gross motor movements.
Image courtesy of Jenna Wawrzyniec
Are Montessori floor beds safe for my child?
While it can be scary to think of leaving your child alone without anything holding them in during sleep time, floor beds have many benefits that do not compromise safety, so long as a few extra considerations are given to “child proof” the entirety of the bedroom. Before introducing a floor bed, parents should get low to the ground at the child’s level and remove potential hazards that would be within the child’s reach, such as covering outlets, removing wires, and securing furniture to the walls.
Once the entire room transforms into a safe space for the child, making the switch to a floor bed offers immediate benefits. Without the restrictions of crib slats or the walls of a bassinet, children are free to visually observe more of their environment, make larger movements that their bodies naturally crave, and can successfully get out of their own beds when they feel the need to. This trust for autonomy helps satisfy the young child's need for independence, which boosts their confidence – and to the parent’s mutual benefit – minimizes power struggles.
Once your child is more mobile and can walk, they can wake up and move around by themselves to address their needs, whether that be to use the restroom, to retrieve a sip of water, or just to communicate that they need a parent’s comfort. This freedom is something that might frighten parents, but when given with healthy limits and safe boundaries, many parents find that this freedom promotes calm and respect. The ability to move around the bedroom prevents children suffering from, as Dr. Montessori put it, "mental starvation," which means they tend to cry less during the night.
As for the big question: what if my child rolls off the bed? There’s a good chance it will happen, but since floor beds are so close to the ground, the likelihood of your child injuring themselves is lower than you may think. If you are worried about this, we’d suggest starting out with a mattress-only approach and choosing one that is very low to the ground. The other thing to remember is that this acts as a learning experience in different ways for your child. They’ll realize what happens if they get close to the edge of the bed and will be far less likely to repeat it. But they’ll also begin to learn how to safely get down from heights.
Where can I buy a floor bed for my child’s Montessori bedroom?
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding whether or not a Montessori-style bed is right for your child. However, should you wish to purchase one, we’ve rounded up a selection of beds that fit the bill. You’ll notice we’ve included a few ‘house bed’ options and wanted to stress that what makes these Montessori-aligned are the low, accessible frames. The house-style is merely a fun bonus.
Montessori floor bed options for children under 3 years of age:
- DIY or Use an existing mattress: Our first suggestion is not to go out and purchase a Montessori-style bed, but rather, look around your home and see if you already have a mattress you can repurpose. In many cases, you can remove the mattress from your child’s crib if you have one and use that as a starting point. Other times, parents will use spare mattresses to trial the floor bed for their child. The point we’re trying to make is, you don’t have to run out and buy a top-of-the-line Montessori-style bed. Work with what you have.
Above image courtesy of Ikea
As noted above, placing a mattress on the ground is a great, low-cost way to start experimenting with Montessori beds. This option from Ikea is affordable and quite low, making it a good one to start with.
Above image courtesy of Sprout Kids
This option from Sprout Kids is a great starter option, as it's compact and easy to assemble.
Above image courtesy of busywood
There are a lot of wonderful low beds available on Etsy. This one is a great option if you are making the transition from crib to bed for your toddler and want something with a bit of a safety rail.
Above image courtesy of Bash & Timber
Similar to the Etsy option listed above, this one lacks a house-style frame, but has a small safety rail built around it.
Above image courtesy of Woodly Stores
Woodly is a company that makes a range of Montessori-inspired beds, among other things. They’re based in Italy, but they ship to the United States and other international countries.
Above image courtesy of Wayfair
This house bed made from natural wood is styled in a way to help babies make the move from crib to grown-up bed. Young children feel “cocooned” – and comforted – inside this roof structure and the neutral, minimal design goes with everything.
Montessori floor bed options for children over 3 years of age:
Above image courtesy of 5 Little Monkeys
One of the pricier options on the list, 5 Little Monkeys offers eco-friendly mattresses and bedding for the whole family. We love that this one comes complete with a pillow and mattress protector.
Above image courtesy of Coco Village
This minimalist style house bed from Coco Village is made from wood and available in a range of colours.
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