Whether your child adores or despises their crib, they will ultimately graduate to big-kid sleeping arrangements. But when should you go to a toddler bed, and how should you do it gently and safely? Here are some expert recommendations.
When should you use a toddler bed?
Unlike several early childhood developmental milestones, such as potty training or starting foods, the transition from crib to bed does not always come effortlessly. According to Mark Widome, a professor of pediatrics, parents should make the modification before their a child can climb out of their own bed and possibly injure themselves.
Most toddlers can hop over the crib rail when they are between the ages of 18 and 24 months. Of course, some babies are more nimble than others and will attempt to climb out sooner (at which point they should be moved to a bed), whereas others will not attempt to climb out at all.
According to Jack Walsh, executive director of a nonprofit dedicated to crib and child-product safety, if your toddler is content in their crib and not a climber, it’s fine to let them sleep there past the age of two – as long as you’ aware of safety. However, the longer a baby spends in their crib, the more emotionally attached they may get, making the transfer to a toddler bed more difficult.
What if you require the crib for another child?
The introduction of a new sibling may also influence your toddler’s “transition to the bed” age. Take extra precautions if this is the reason for the shift; having a new sibling is a big change, and you don’t want your child to feel displaced.
Experts recommend starting the transition one to two months before the new baby is due, providing your toddler is at least 18 months old. By getting your elder child used to their new bed, they’ll think of the crib as neutral territory – rather than their sleeping place – when the infant arrives.
Making the switch to a toddler bed easier
You’ll need to think out the logistics before switching to a big-kid bed. Follow these pointers to keep your child happy.
- Allow your child to assist you in selecting kid-friendly bedding, pillowcases, blankets, and stuffed animals for whichever bed you choose. This can increase the attraction of the big-kid bed.
- Create a bedtime ritual. It is beneficial to maintain a stable sleep routine during this period of transition. This routine, which may include reading a story, discussing your child’s day, or praying, should make your youngster eager to go to bed.
- Conduct a safety check of every room that your child has access to, including their bedroom. Bed safety rails can be secured to your child’s bed to ensure they don’t fall out of the bed while they are sleeping.