My 11 month old is a busy babe. He was always active in the womb and has proven to be a mover here on the other side. He is a master crawler (started at 7 months) and walker (first steps just before 10 months) Watch out world, Henry is coming for you!
This was making unsupervised sleep times (naps) a challenge! Henry has always been a light sleeper and wakes often, and now that he is mobile he will INSTANTLY shoot up and crawl or walk - and fast! I use to just cuddle him to sleep for naps in our bed and then put up a barrier of blankets and pillows around him in case he rolled. But but I was increasingly worried that he might fall off the bed. Even though we have a video monitor, I would run into the room as soon as he woke up. We needed a new strategy.
I sought some opinions from other parents and evaluated our priorities (moving our mattress to the floor is non negotiable for my husband who has back pain, and this kid would scale any railings we could put up)....and I was getting discouraged until I heard about an option for a Montessori style bed and bedroom.
What is a Montessori Style Bedroom
You may have heard of the Montessori education philosophy and schools of the same name. Although primarily an education model, these principles can be taken into the home as well. A Montessori model of education sees the child as a unique individual who is intelligent, curious and competent - teaching the child how to be independent, self-sufficient and allowing them to work in a meaningful way.
A Montessori style bedroom would follow that same philosophy. The bed room is styled in a way that is child safe, child sized, and child-centric. Everything the child would need is at their level, including the art hung on the walls.
Some things commonly found in a Montessori room include:
- A bed on the floor for easy and safe access in and out of the bed
- Mirror for child to see themselves
- Decorations and art hung at child's level
- Toys and books at child's level in neat and organized places
Why This Style is Perfect For Our Baby
We needed a bed that was low to ground, that Henry could get in and out of on his own. Henry is also a very sensitive sleeper. If we try to lay him down in a crib after getting him to sleep, the motion will wake him up and then it's over. Once he's up he's done sleeping. With the Montessori style bed, we can cuddle him to sleep laying right next to him, and just scoot away when he falls asleep! (Note that there is a pillow on his bed in the pictures below - that is for us while we cuddle him and when he is asleep we move it away for a safer sleeping environment)
The Montessori style set up for the rest of the room is wonderful for my active and very independent boy. He knows just where all his toys and books are and can get them all by himself.
Our Set Up
Henry moves quite a bit in his sleep, so we decided to use a full sized futon mattress on the floor (as opposed to just the crib mattress), and put large foam puzzle pieces around the perimeter as an extra precaution since we have hardwood floors. Since Henry was about 7 months old I have taught him to turn around and go feet first when going off of a "high" place, so he has absolutely no trouble getting in and out of this bed. We are working on not walking and running while on the bed, but he's stubborn!
We also set up a quite reading area with comfy pillows and a rug that our dear friend Katie made for Henry when he was born. We decided to leave our rocker in the room so Wes has a place to sit and read with him too. Next to the rocker is a smaller bookshelf at his level with three baskets. One basket has soft stuffed animals and "loves", another has a few toys he enjoys, and the last has a few board books. They are at his level and all the things have a proper place.
We also have a larger bookcase to prop the monitor on top of. Henry likes to pull wires so we needed a safe place for it to be! The top shelf has hats and socks and bibs, the middle shelf holds the rest of his books, and the last houses a few more toys.
We decorated the room with a set of woodland creature drawings I made for Henry in the quiet area, a banner with his name on it above the bed that was made for him at my baby shower, a Van Gogh print, and a few things to remind him of California :)
How It's Working For Us and Where We Go From Here
This room is AWESOME. Henry loves to play in his room and has taken all his naps in the bed beautifully. And I don't run as soon as he wakes anymore because I know he is safe and happy! We started with only napping in his bedroom, and now we have decided at bedtime to start him out in his room, and bring him into the family bed when he wakes up in the middle of the night where he spends the rest of the night with us. All of us still really enjoy the family bed at this point! We will slowly decrease the time in the family bed when we feel that he is ready. We've been doing this routine for naps and at night for a couple of months now and it's working perfectly for us! Henry has also gained so much confidence at bed time - several times this week rolling away from us and falling asleep on his own. I am so happy to see this style of bedroom be so positive for Henry and his particular needs surrounding sleep :)