When making parenting decisions I always think about what is going to benefit the children in the long term. What can I do today to help them tomorrow? Fostering independence is one of those things. It is harder at the start but in the long run it is of great benefit. While using a crib might be easier in the short term I knew a floor bed was best for my children. The upfront difficulty of using a floor bed is baby proofing their entire room. Why do we use a floor bed?
- Freedom of movement. Children are not confined, they are free to move, to get in and out of bed. I have found my children are much more active when using a floor bed and slither around then crawl around much more, as their whole room is baby proof there is a greater area they are free to move about in. This is of benefit especially in modern times when children are often confined in a crib, to a high chair or rocker then to a baby car seat or stroller, yes some of these are necessary, however children need every opportunity possible for freedom of movement.
- Promote independence. Children can get up and read a book, or get dressed, they do not need a parent's permission or help to do so. Over time and especially with an older toddler they can decide themselves when they are tired and lie down. For daytime naps my children would often put themselves to bed and go lie down when they needed to rest.
- Empower the child. The child can make their own decisions. This is especially applicable for a toddler who is able to get out of bed and play rather than cry at the crib waiting for someone to get them out. Although the chid may still be confined to their room they have much more power and control over themselves.
- Respect. I find a floor bed, rather than a crib is more respectful, again especially with an older toddler, it respects their natural needs and their capabilities. The child is not going to sleep because they have no other choice, because they are confined and can't get out, rather the child is making their own decision to go to bed and lie down (and hopefully fall asleep). While there were times my children would wake during the night, have difficultly falling asleep, there were no battles to get into bed. Definitely no screaming or crying to get out.
- Comfort. This is much less of an issue, however for the child and the parent I find a floor bed much more comfortable. Often I would lie next to my child, breastfeed them and sometimes sleep next to them. This was much easier in a floor bed and could not happen in a crib.
I completely understand that a crib is preferred by most parents. I am not trying to convince you or anyone else about the benefits of a floor bed, but rather present some ideas that are not so common. We don't need to explain our parenting decisions or sleeping arrangements but it is good to discuss especially among like minded parents. Please feel free to leave any floor bed questions.