Toddler Beds: How to Make the Transition
Since all children are different, there's not really a specific age when you have to move your toddler to a big kid bed, but how do you know when the time is right? And, since this move can be stressful for all involved, what are some ways you can make this transition go smoothly?
Once your child is able to climb out of his crib (generally between 18 and 24 months when he reaches a height of 35 inches), it's safe to say it's time to move to a toddler bed for your child's own safety. You don't want your toddler performing jumps and other stunts out of his crib because he could really hurt himself.
Another way to gauge when it's time to make this transition is if your child is growing too big to fit comfortably in his crib. Kids in these situations generally will be excited about getting to sleep in a big kid bed, especially if they're getting tired of being cramped up in their cribs.
On the other hand, what if your child loves his crib and seems scared of the possibility of leaving the safe enclosure of his crib for a toddler bed? If he can sleep comfortably in his crib, there's no law that says he has to move to a big kid bed at a certain age. As long as he's safe and isn't trying to climb out, it's fine to let him stay in his crib past the age of 2. Just keep an eye out for his safety.
One way to make the transition smooth is to get your toddler help pick out his new bed. Let him pick out new sheets for the toddler bed, and encourage him to feel excited about this change. The more he feels he's in control of the change, the easier it will be.
Other than the big kid bed and sheets, you'll need to childproof his room before the move. Make sure all electrical outlets are covered if they aren't already, and ensure large furniture is mounted to the wall. You'll also want to invest in a night light to help him see when he gets out of bed in the middle of the night.
Another idea is to install a gate in his doorway, especially if you're worried about him roaming the house at night. If the new bed isn't already equipped with toddler bed rails, you may also want to buy some to attach to his new bed.
The first night your child sleeps in his big kid bed, stick to the same bedtime routine as closely as possible. If you haven't added picking up toys and books to this routine, now is the perfect time to start to decrease the chances of someone stepping on something or tripping over a toy.
He may want you to stay in his room longer with him, but try not to give him too much time, as he needs to learn how to fall asleep on his own. Do tell him that you'll be checking on him throughout the night to give him some reassurance.
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.