For the ones that are not familiar with this term, co-sleeping means sleeping in the same room and bed as your baby.
Co-sleeping and Montessori are not necessarily related, but the truth is that many families who practise co-sleeping are interested in Montessori, and the other way round.
This topic is quite personal and each family has to choose the option that best suits their situation.
In my opinion and in my experience the co-sleeping can fit perfectly with the Montessori philosophy if we consider two things: respect and independence.
We have to try to respect the needs and preferences of all family members.
In general, babies and children tend to like sleeping with their parents but we cannot take it for granted, it is always good to ask instead of imposing.
In the case of adults, if it is a couple and both agree to co-sleeping...that is great…. but if one of them is not satisfied, it is important to talk about it and reach an agreement.
Montessori gives great importance to the independence of children. In the ages between 0 to 6 years old this independence translates into independence on a physical level.
If we are co-sleeping it is important to take into account some details, for example:
can the child get in and out of bed without help?
This is where the famous floor bed comes into play, which is placed on the floor to allow that independence .
The best option for this will be to set up a large floor bed at least until children can safely get on and off a higher bed.
If this is not an option, we can always set up a normal height bed, but we can adapt it to make it easier for children to access the bed, for example, by adding some type of step.
When asked: CO SLEEPING ... UNTIL WHEN?
I personally don't think there is a "due date" or an "age limit" for this situation. If we go back to the base of everything, which is respect, the ideal is to do it while we all agree.
The time to make the transition can be done in many ways, but for me the most important thing to consider is:
- That the child is prepared, that is, that we do not force the situation.
- That we leave room for flexibility, that is, that we do not think that once they have slept in their bed for a couple of nights in a row they will no longer want to sleep in our bed.
Now the question is: Once the transition to their room is mastered…..what type of bed is ideal for my child?
If we believe in the Montessori philosophy, it is logical that we ask ourselves if we want a COT with bars, since they are designed so that the adult can rest in peace knowing that the baby is not going to move from there.
Choosing this cot with bars or a bed on the floor does not make us better or worse parents. It is important to assess whether as parents we feel comfortable with them and keep in mind that parenting is much (much) more than the choice of a bed.
From what age can they sleep in a Montessori bed?
I can´t stop repeating that each child is different. If you want to try, they can start using Montessori beds at an early age and only for naps. And to feel completely comfortable, you can reinforce safety by surrounding the mattress with cushions. And in case the baby turns and falls, the cushions will catch the baby before he falls. As the child grows, they can adapt the bed to their needs but still respecting the first rule: that they can access and get off the bed by themselves.
I hope that all these tips have been useful! and I can't wait to share more about what I've learnt during my teaching journey.