When to Transition Toddlers to bed? Ready, Set, Sleep

Are you wondering when to leave the crib? Here’s what parents need to know about making a smooth transition to a toddler bed.

Whether your toddler loves their crib or already wants to leave it, eventually they will crawl out of it and into a toddler bed. But when should you transition to a toddler bed, and how can you do it smoothly and safely?

Truth be told, the transition from a crib to a bed is a big change for children and the family in general. 

Both an early and a late transition can cause problems over time, which is why many parents are nervous about making this change. 

But do not worry! Here we will explain everything you need to know before your child moves to a toddler bed.

When to switch to a toddler bed

Unlike some early childhood developmental milestones, such as toilet training or starting solid foods, the transition from crib to bed doesn’t always flow naturally.

However, as a general rule, parents should make the switch before their children can climb over the crib and injure themselves.

Most toddlers have the ability to jump over the crib rail by the time they are about 35 inches tall and between 18 and 24 months of age.

Of course, some babies are particularly agile and will attempt to climb earlier (at which point they should be transferred to a bed), while the less adventurous will not attempt to climb out at all.

If your toddler is comfortable in his crib and isn’t a climber, then it’s okay to let him sleep in it after age 2-3, as long as you keep his safety in mind.

But, the longer a baby stays in their crib, they can become more emotionally attached and the more difficult the transition to a toddler bed can be.

Signs that your child is ready to leave the crib

You should consider this transition if your child:

  • He can get out of the crib by himself.
  • When standing, his chest reaches the rail of the crib.
  • He is between 18 months to 3 years old.
  • He will have a little brother soon.
  • Then you think need to buy a toddler bed.

What if you need the crib for another baby?

Another factor that could determine your child’s “transition to bed” age is the arrival of a new sibling. Be especially careful if this is the reason for the transition; the arrival of a new sibling is a major change, and you don’t want your child to feel left out.

Start the transition a month or two before the new baby arrives, assuming your toddler is at least 18 months old.

By positioning your older child comfortably in his new bed, he’ll think of the crib as neutral territory, not his place to sleep, when the baby arrives.

If possible, dismantle the crib or store it in a room out of sight, or try making the crib “unsleepable” by filling it with stuffed animals, toys, and blankets.

Regardless of the reason for the change, ideally, you want to do it at a time when there are no other major changes in your child’s life.

For example, avoid making the switch if your child is potty training, giving up a pacifier, or adjusting to a new childcare plan.

How to choose a children’s bed?

When it comes time to buy a children’s bed, you can opt for children’s beds or twin beds with safety rails.

The children’s beds are a small version of the twin beds. They are made specifically for children, so they usually come in attractive designs for them. 

On the other hand, despite not having been designed, twin beds are more efficient if you are looking for a bed that will last throughout your childhood. You can install safety railings to prevent falls.

Ease the transition to a toddler bed

Before you switch to a toddler bed, you’ll need to plan the logistics. Follow these tips and tricks to keep your child happy.

1-  Choose the best toddler bed.

Some parents simply place their child’s crib mattress on the floor to ease the transition. Others adapt it to a toddler bed, which is usually low to the ground and can accommodate an existing crib mattress.

They often come in the form of cars, castles, or other attractive shapes. Toddler beds are fine, but they’re not necessarily safe. You can always install a removable rail on a single bed to prevent your child from falling.

2-  Have your child choose her sleeping accessories.

Regardless of which bed you choose, let your child help you choose kids’ sheets, pillowcases, duvets, and stuffed animals. This can make the big kid bed appear more appealing.

3-  Establish a bedtime routine.

As with any transition time, this helps establish a predictable bedtime routine. This routine, which can include reading a story, talking about your child’s day, or praying, should leave your child looking forward to bed.

A consistent bedtime ritual should also help a young child feel grounded. Young children are often ambivalent about growing up and leaving their childhood behind, and for this reason, change can be difficult for them.

But once they master a new skill, whether it’s coming out of diapers or a bottle or moving from a crib to a bed, they have a real sense of pride and accomplishment.

4-  Childproof your home.

Do a security sweep of all rooms that your toddler can access. Secure stairs with gates at the top and bottom, bolt bookshelves and TVs to the wall, and put safety latches on dresser drawers so they can’t be pulled out and used for climbing.

Some experts suggest putting a gate on your child’s door or locking it, but you should think about fire safety. Alternatively, you can use a monitor or place bells on the door to alert you when you leave the room.

5-  Don’t expect an easy transition to a toddler bed.

Your child may cry and insist that he wants to go back to the crib. Stay positive and expect it to take a month or two for him to fully adjust to his new terrain.

His newfound freedom can also lead him to explore a lot (You put your son to bed and he comes out. You put him back to bed and he comes out again). Just put him back on the bed calmly and get out of the room as fast as you can.

Since there’s a chance he still can’t handle a big bed, it’s a good idea to hold on to the crib. A temporary return, if necessary, is not a big deal: young children mature quickly, and your child could be ready in another month or two. Be patient and don’t rush through this important transition.

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