Just as it is with your cell phone plan, there comes a point in every baby's life when it's time for an upgrade. But instead of more data and unlimited text messaging, your little one's promotion takes place in the bedroom with the introduction of a new bed. This is a big moment in the life of your child, so knowing how to transition baby from crib to bed smoothly will make the change easier on the whole family. As long as you have a plan, keep safety in mind, and work through any challenges, you'll have your kiddo loving her "big girl bed" in no time.
Moving out of the crib is a milestone indeed, but in contrast to other milestones such as eating solids and using a potty, transitioning into a toddler bed doesn't require a specific set of readiness indicators. According to the website for Parents magazine, the biggest rule and concern for moving your child to a toddler bed is safety. This means setting up and using that new bed before your baby is big enough to climb out of her crib. Although there is no magic age or size for when a baby is capable of crib escape, you start to notice her pulling up on the side, and maybe even attempting to toss a leg over.
First, you'll want to prepare your child for the change that is about to happen. Springing a bedroom makeover on a toddler may not go over so well. According to the Baby Sleep Site, talk with your child to prepare for the transition from crib to bed. And don't wait until the night before — get the conversation going well before you make the switch. Toddlers value predictability and will respond better knowing that their sleep environment is about to change.
But jumping right into the new bed can't happen before you make a few important considerations. As What To Expect's website pointed out, certain safety measures need to be addressed as a child moves out of a crib and into a bed. To keep your little one safe, make sure the bed is sturdy, low to the ground, and is equipped with safety rails on both sides. Also, make sure the bed is placed in a safe location in the room, away from curtains, outlets, or any other potential dangers.
Once all your preparing is done, it's time to start thinking about how bedtime will go down now that the sleeping arrangement is different. As Dr. Sears reported for Parenting magazine, it's best to stick with the same nighttime routine you used when you child was in her crib. Sleeping in a different environment may take your child some time to adjust to, so keeping the rhythm of bedtime as familiar as possible helps associate the new bed with a good night's sleep.
It may take a few nights of extra stories and snuggles, but once your child is used to their new bed, the crib will be a thing of the past. Making the transition can be an exciting time for you and your kiddo, but it may also be met with a little resistance. Don't get discouraged if your little one embraces their new found freedom and gets out of the bed more often than you'd like. Just stay patient and in time they will adjust to the new set up.