Transitioning to a toddler bed
Updated: Mar 26, 2021
Is it time to say goodbye to the crib?
My husband was convinced that we should switch our son to a "big boy bed" before we have our daughter. At the time our son was 19 months when my daughter was born. He was way too young. He was doing great in his crib, he didn't try to climb out and slept incredibly well.
I want to start with making one thing clear, if there is no danger involved, it’s BEST to keep your child in their crib as long as possible.
Here are 4 signs that can help you determine if it’s time to make the switch:
1. Safety: Is your little one climbing out of the crib? If your toddler is climbing it is now a safety issue and that is the first reason to make switch. Now, before you make the switch let me ask you if you tried these.
a) Putting your child in a sleep sack can stop them from climbing b) If your toddler is capable of opening the zipper on their own, put the sleep sack on with the zipper being on their back instead of their front.
If these still don't work, like the situation with my son then its time to make the switch. My son climbed out with his sleep sack and he actually fell a couple times so we removed the crib and left his mattress on the floor until his bed arrived.
2. Too Tight: Your little one is physically too big for his/her crib and needs more space. If the crib feels too snug for your child and they are not sleeping comfortably I would consider making the switch.
3. Age: Your little one is constantly asking for a big boy/girl bed. Often this might happen if the child thinks the crib is now a baby’s space to sleep as a result of a new sibling. This type of request usually happens between 2.5-3.5 years old.
4. Potty: You are night training and your child needs to be able to go to the bathroom on their own. While some toddlers don't go potty at all at night some do and they actually wake up to go or wakeup and call mommy to help them go. If this is your child then consider the switch. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
When making the switch, make sure to do lots of prep talk with your little ones to explain about the switch. We want to explain the entire process and prepare them for their new reality as much as possible.
Here are things to keep in mind for a successful Transition:
Allow your child to be involved in picking their bed and new sheets. This will create lots of excitement and contribute to the prep talk. You may discuss the size, the looks, how sleeping in the new bed might look like and so on.
Make sure the room is completely child proof. Some parents add a safety lock or a gate at their child's room to avoid any danger if a child sleep walks or gets out of bed and approaches an unsafe space.
Stay very consistent with everything around bedtime/nap time. Maintain the same sleep routine and make little to no changes at all.
Make sure the change is not occurring right before a move or a new sibling's arrival. You never want to make a huge change too close to another huge change. It can often be too much for your child to process and back fire big time.
Lastly and most importantly, always make sure to validate your child’s feelings! If they are showing sadness or fear about the situation or any other feelings. It is important to not brush off their feelings. For instance, a child is saying they are scared of the new bed. "I hear that you are feeling scared, your new bed is just like your old one but with more space. Mommy and daddy are also at the same place. Do you want to take one of your bears with your to bed tonight?"
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Keep in mind, you shouldn’t switch your baby to a big bed simply because you are expecting a new baby and need that crib/space.
Some toddlers will do so well and some won’t and both ways are common and okay.
We switched my son to a twin size bed when he was just about 2.5 years old. It was tough at first and he came out many many times but we worked a system and things got better slowly and back to normals. My son was sleeping though the night from 13 weeks old, ON HIS OWN. His behavior when we switched was a shocker for us since he loved his sleep so much! Moral of this story, you really never know how your child will react to this switch to prepare yourself and your child as much as you can.
Here are the details of the items we got for the new bed. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Mattress and pillow are both 100% organic certified and both are very comfortable (my husband often falls asleep there and LOVES it) from: Avocado Mattress. You can click HERE to browse their website. - The sheets we love:
Fun prints-Pottery Barn Organic, shop HERE.
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