Spoonful Test Blog

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Montessori bedroom: we're not crazy, I promise.

I mentioned in my post about the bench we made that we converted Gibson's room to a Montessori-style bedroom.  And I didn't want to leave you all hanging about what that means, so I'll tell you about it now!

Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert on the Montessori method of child-rearing and teaching.  I learned about Montessori bedrooms and thought it might work for us, so we're trying it.  /end of disclaimer.

The theory behind a Montessori nursery is that the baby has access to all of their toys, clothes, and even their bed without needing help from an adult.  It is meant to encourage independence and freedom, which means that there is no crib.  Everything is on the baby's level and is entirely baby proofed...so basically the entire room functions as a crib.

This probably sounds crazy, and I thought so at first, too!  But when I thought about our sleep problems lately, I realized that Gibson really, really hates his crib.  When he wasn't mobile it was fine, but now he screams and gets stuck in the corners, and it's not a pleasant experience for anyone.  Whenever he woke up from a nap in the crib he would scream like he was being tortured, and wouldn't calm down for half an hour sometimes.  It was miserable, for real.

So now he doesn't have a crib!  Instead, Gibson sleeps on a floor bed...which is basically just a mattress on the floor.  So fancy, right?  We're super classy.


Don't worry, we bought Gibson a bigger crib mattress to replace his itty bitty mini crib mattress.  Because for real, that thing was tiny.

We started Gibson in the floor bed on Saturday for his naps, and they were AWFUL.  Both naps were just horrific that day, and we were really worried that the floor bed might not work for him.  But since then everything has been pretty smooth!  Bedtime is especially wonderful...for the past three nights he hasn't cried at all before bed, which is very out of the norm for him.  We do find him next to the mattress sometimes, and sometimes he plays with toys before going to sleep, but that's all part of letting him decide when and where to go to sleep.

For me, it's a lot like Baby-Led Weaning.  When we introduced solid food, we allowed Gibson to decide what he eats and how much of it he eats.  The idea is to give him control over his food choices, which will make him a less picky eater because he knows that we won't force anything on him.  And so far, it has worked!  He's a very adventurous eater, and will pretty much eat whatever we give him.

So with this new nursery, I'm hoping it will encourage him to be happy in his bedroom because he knows that we won't force him into a small crib when he doesn't want to be there.  When we put Gibson down for a nap he does have to stay in his bedroom, but if he wants to play with a toy or read a book (he's obviously a genius...reading at 11 months!) he can.

I definitely don't think that a Montessori-style nursery is the right choice for every child and family.  I just wanted to get the information out there in case it might help someone!  With Gibson's personality (hard headed and very dramatic...I wonder where he gets that?) it has worked pretty well so far.  I'm glad we didn't give up after the first bad day...like everything with babies, there is an adjustment period that can be pretty rough.  But I think it will be better for our family in the long run!


And here are some photos of Gibson's new room!

The view from the door!  The glider is locked in place and can't be pulled over...believe me, we've tried!

Gibson's bed!  The mirror is there so he can see himself...he loves it a lot.

We thought about taking the dresser out of the room, but decided that we didn't care if he wants to take things out of the drawers.  And so far he hasn't!  The dresser is tethered to the wall...it probably could have been pulled over if he really tried before it was tethered!

Another view of Gibson's sleep area!

 There are toys in the fabric bins of this bench.  We only put quiet toys in his room--stuffed animals, soft blocks, and a couple of little cars.  If you want to make a bench like this, go to >this< post!  It's the most ridiculously sturdy piece of furniture we own, for sure.

Do you have any questions about our crazy new adventure?  Let me know!  I would love to at least try to answer them!  Just remember, I'm not an expert on anything except getting my baby to stop crying all the time.  And I even fail at that most of the time.
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7 comments :

  1. The room looks great, Erin! -Dawn

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  2. This looks awesome! So...how did you find that the naps and night time sleeping goes? We have everything set up in our nursery so Isak has free-rein with everything...except the crib. I'm wondering if we do this, if he will even take his naps (I say that, and currently he is in his crib...supposed to be napping...and talking to himself and his toys LOL) and/or go to bed at night. He is about to turn 2, so we're getting pretty close to a "big-boy" bed anyway. To be honest, the only reason we haven't switched yet is that he always seems to sleep squished up against the sides of the crib and I'm afraid he'll just roll out of the bed...but I'm sure he'd get used to it after a few times of sleeping. Anyway, how did you deal with the sleeping?

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    1. Thanks Lauren! Naps and night sleep have, for the most part, been better since the switch! I'm keeping a log of each nap and night so that I can write more about it soon, but since he has the freedom to play if he wants, there's less fighting when it comes to sleep. Right now he's going on almost two hours of a nap...amazing!

      I was worried about him rolling out of his bed, and he definitely does, but he is slowly learning the boundaries of the mattress. For the first two or three days we would hear a huge bang and then he would be on the floor, but we just left him there. He slept on the floor happily, but he has now learned how to stay in the bed to sleep. The first couple of days were a little rough, but once he adjusted it's been really great. You can put a folded up quilt or comforter next to the bed so falling off the mattress isn't too painful...we put Gibson's mini crib mattress next to the bigger mattress, but we'll be taking it away soon.

      We're keeping our crib for the next baby, whenever that happens. So we figured that if the floor bed didn't work for Gibson, we could always bring the crib back...but it doesn't look like that's necessary!

      If you decide to switch to a floor bed or low toddler bed I hope it works well for you guys! Let me know if you have any other questions! :)

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    2. Thanks! I'm thinking this will be the new "project" this weekend :-D

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  3. Glad to hear this is helping with the sleep issues! Cool idea! If he starts getting really interested in pulling up on things, be careful that he doesn't fall from things he's climbed onto. We've caught Eli trying to climb shelves and dresser drawers lately :( but hopefully you guys have a long way to go before you get to that point! If ever!

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  4. I have never heard of this before, but I am still young and don’t have any children yet. My wife and I are looking to have a baby in the next few years. This sounds like an interesting idea. I like the pictures of the room. I hope this method continues to work for your family.

    Dante Storey @ Healthy Bed Store

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