How and when to transition to a Toddler bed

Transitioning your Toddler from a crib to a bed can seem like a daunting process, especially if you’re unsure whether your child is truly ready.

Because all children reach developmental milestones at various ages, there isn’t a magic number that determines when it’s time to transition out of the crib.

Instead you should pay attention to these signs and cues which might indicate your Toddler is ready to make the move…

Your Toddler is physically able to climb or jump out of the crib. This one is pretty obvious and if your child physically will not stay in their crib, it does become a safety concern.

Consider a few options though before you immediately move to a Toddler bed.

·       Adjust the mattress to as close to the floor as possible. Many cribs have the setting to be able to adjust the mattress down so if yours does this is something you can try. If not you could remove the bottom bars and place the mattress completely on the floor as long as there isn’t too much of a gap between the bars and the top of the mattress.

·       Consider trying a pack n play. Many children won’t try to climb out of a pack n play simply because it is already close to the ground.

Your Toddler has recently reached other developmental milestones. While you want to try to avoid too many changes at once, if your child is showing readiness for change in other areas (increased activity, interest in potty training, increased verbal communication), it might be a good time to think about a toddler bed. This process requires a lot of communication and boundary setting, so think about how well you think your child might respond, given his ability to understand boundaries in other areas.

Your Toddler is asking for a new bed. If you’ve heard these words, “Mommy I want a big boy bed,” then you might want to listen! Much like potty training, some toddlers might show interest very early on and some might never seem interested. But when your child verbally expresses interest in transitioning, it is a good idea to follow their lead.

Your Toddler seems uncomfortable in his space. If your child is physically too big for the crib, then it is definitely time to transition to a bigger sleeping area. You don’t want your Toddler’s sleep disrupted because he is uncomfortable, and while again there is no “magic” number, usually children three or older will completely outgrow their crib.

If you think your toddler is ready to transition, safety is always the top priority.

You can follow these guidelines to make sure you are making a healthy transition:

·        When you purchase a toddler bed, it should be no more than three feet off the ground.

·        Spend extra time making sure the room is fully baby-proofed—you can even ask for an extra set of eyes or hire an expert to help. And when it comes to items in a toddler’s room, less is more.

·        You also need to think about what would happen if your child were to get out of the room. Are there stairs nearby or areas that might be dangerous outside of his room that you need to consider? If so, those areas should be safety checked as well.

·        Try to find a toddler bed that has sides or rails to avoid your child falling out.

·        Carefully consider where you place the toddler bed, away from windows and vents.

You also want to consider what this transition will look like for you as parents. As with most transitions, this requires time and effort on your part and may result in some exhausting nights as you try to navigate this change.

Many children will need to be walked back to bed dozens of times each night before they stay in bed and again this is where the boundary setting comes in. You want to be firm but loving in your approach and remember that this is new for your child as well, so patience and grace are needed.

Taking it gradually and making it a fun process will help both you and your Toddler.

If it feels like too big of a task to take on alone, we encourage you to reach out to us for one-on-one help!

Remember your child is unique in every other way and sleep is no different! Don’t worry if your child seems to be transitioning earlier or later than other children you know. It will happen at the time that is perfect for your child!

Rachel GortonToddlerComment