floor bed: why and how

these are the two questions asked most often when i tell people that caleb now sleeps on a floor bed.  i thought i would write this out because i didn’t find many resources on starting a floor bed at such a late age (12 months).  i hope this might help someone out there considering it. 🙂

let me just get one out there before i start… i was very insulted by several people calling it “weird” and “crazy” when i told them about the floor bed.  these were my friends, family members, PARENTS.  we have the WORLD, the devil, that is trying to steal the purity of our children and it’s sad to think we are ‘fighting’ over trivial issues such as these.  and for those of you who were an encouragement to me throughout the whole process, thank you!  it means a lot that you would trust dane and me as parents even though you may not have understood it yourself.

and here they are, the reasons we LOVE the floor bed:

  • falls asleep naturally – in a crib, caleb would exhaust himself just crawling around.  he would only fall asleep after 20-30 minutes of crawling, bumping into the sides, pulling up and sitting down, etc.  i would check in on him before going to bed and find him in the weirdest positions.  he looked completely worn out…like when you find your kid asleep in his food or asleep on a toy. i was so frustrated with myself for not being able to help him fall asleep in a more natural way.
  • teaches boundaries – the mattress is in the corner and we placed a pile of blankets on one side.  in the mornings, when i checked on him in his crib, i would find him in another random position or completely shoved up against the bars. just like with falling asleep, he would wake up in the middle of the night and just toss and turn until he couldn’t move anymore. now he usually sleeps in one or two positions with his covers still on! that is a big deal since we have hardwood floors and it’s usually pretty cool at night. it forced us to sit with him and teach him that he stays on his bed during nap and bedtime…more on how we did that later in the post.
  • convenient – on several occasions, caleb was having individual room time and decided he was tired.  i walked by the doorway and saw him laying with his buddy bear sucking his thumb on his mattress.  i went in and talked to him, asking him if he was tired.  he just looked at me and didn’t get up so i turned off the light and cleaned up his toys and he took his morning nap. 🙂 best kid ever!  also, when we went to visit my dad (around week 4), we forgot to bring the playpen for sleeping.  i was a little stressed out since our bed wasn’t big enough for all of us and it was a different place.  but, we just piled some blankets at the end of the bed and he slept fine!  he even stayed put when we put him down for bedtime at 8 and didn’t get to bed until 10 or later. no more playpen!!! aaaand i read that when we move him to a “big kid” bed, there isn’t really any transition period since they are used to sleeping without boundaries.
  • it’s more fun! – do you ever get on the floor with your kids and just lay down with them? we do all the time! usually when dane comes home we will camp out by the dining room and talk about our day and let caleb crawl all over us.  it’s kinda neat to see things from waaaay down on the ground.  i think this is what excited me the most when i was reading about a floor bed.  as they are falling asleep, they can look around their room (they say to use a plexi-mirror on one side of the bed to create even more ways to look around) and when they wake up they are able to just crawl off their bed and get to work playing!

how we did it:

it was definitely a challenge. especially since we moved him at 1 year.  i read that it takes 3-6 weeks for a toddler to get used to their “big kid” bed once they are moved from a crib.  so i told myself it would take 6 weeks for it to really ‘work’.  well, it took us 7 weeks.

  • weeks 1 and 2 – lay him down as he was getting tired and sit beside him and pat his back.  if he ever tried to get up, we would gently, but firmly lay him back down.  we tried not to speak to him too much.  we wanted our actions to speak louder than anything. this was entirely new to him so the these were the hardest times.  i remember two different naps where i sat with him for 2 hours each until he finally got the message.  then he would have a few easy days and then it was back to an hour.  i would expect to sit with them for 30-45 minutes AT LEAST each time they lay down (again, this is because we started at 12 months instead of the desired newborn age).
  • weeks 3 and 4 – lay him down and sit beside him, but no patting.  completely hands off unless they are still getting up.  at this point the maximum i ever had to stay with him was 30 minutes.  no more hour long battles. 🙂
  • weeks 5 and 6 – out of the room! lay him down and then step out of the room.  keep a watch through the crack in the door until they are completely asleep. if he got up, we would quickly help him back into bed.  we wouldn’t even let him make a move for the floor if we saw him get up.  we wanted him to understand that once we put him on the bed he had to stay put.  the first week we did this was hard…almost like starting over.  because he was dependent on us being in there, he didn’t quite understand he had to lay down.  so some nights it took him 45 minutes to fall asleep.  i just hung out outside the door and read something.  if i could do it over, i might have only spent 3 total weeks in the room with him and then stepped out by week 4.  by week 6 he got the message: stay on the bed when mom or dad lays me down.
  • week 7 – floor bed trained!  he went the entire week without getting up to ‘play’ while we were out of the room and he waits until we come to get him when he gets up from a nap and ‘talks’ to us. SUCCESS!!!
we are currently on week 8 and we forgot to really celebrate.  it was tough, but i’m thankful that i have a great helper in my husband.  i wanted to quit several times because i wasn’t able to get anything done during the day (it seemed), but he encouraged me and even took the crib down because he had so much faith in the method!  last week we took the blankets away from around the bed.  i was nervous and sure enough he’s fallen off two times.  i waited to see what he would do…he was a bit startled, but he just crawled back into bed and went back to sleep!  now sometimes we find him with half of his body hanging off the bed, but it’s usually right before we go to bed and we are able to help him back up. 

i really did love everything about this ‘trial’.  it kept me accountable to my baby’s sleep pattern and to disciplining him.  i had never prayed that much over him until i was standing outside his door with nothing to do.  my relationship with dane grew since he fully trusted me with this decision and then backed me up and encouraged me.  he took over several ‘shifts’ when he knew i was having a hard day.  i’m glad the hard part is over…now we all (especially caleb) get to enjoy the benefits of the floor bed!

hope i was clear in my explanations.

i’ll get back to posting more photos sometime soon!


One comment on “floor bed: why and how

  1. mom henson says:

    More than CLEAR! You need to write the book. Wish I’d tried this as a stay-at-home mom. I love your explanation, great ideas and the insightful words of your love for Dane and sweet man Caleb! I still remember getting Dane and Nicole into “big kid” beds. Never easy, but oh so fun to see your babies grow up!

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