It's a day that parents meet with either dread or relief — or sometimes a little bit of both. I'm talking about the day you realize you need to decide how to transition toddler from crib to bed. It's an inevitable event, and acceptance is the first step. To set yourself up for a successful switch, you'll want to make sure you come up with a plan in advance, instead of trying to wing it. As long as you consider your child's personality, keep safety in mind, and work through any challenges, your kiddo's new favorite place will be their "big kid bed."
Upgrading from crib to bed is a big milestone in the life of your child. But unlike potty training and eating solid food, transitioning a toddler to a bed doesn't require a specific set of readiness indicators. As the website for Parents magazine pointed out, the biggest rule and concern for moving your child to a toddler bed is their safety. To stay ahead of the game, plan to set up the new before your little one starts climbing out of the crib. This is a tricky time frame to nail down since every child will attempt crib escape at different sizes and ages. Be on the lookout for signs such as pulling up on the side and trying to put a leg over the railing.
Surprising a toddler with a bed transition may not go over so well with your wee one. Before introducing the new bed, try talking with your child to prepare for the transition from crib to bed, as the Baby Sleep Site suggested. Toddlers thrive on the predictability of their environment and will respond better knowing that their sleeping conditions are about to change, so get the conversation going a few weeks before you plan to make the swap.
Before you break down the crib, you're going to need to prepare for what type of bed to purchase and where it should be placed in the bedroom. 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. First, you'll want a bed that is sturdy, low to the ground, and equipped with safety rails on both sides. Additionally, you should make sure the bed is placed away from curtains, outlets, or any other potential dangers to keep your baby as safe as possible while snoozing.
I hate to break it to you, but setting up the bed is the easy part. Now comes the part where you actually have to make bedtime happen in a new environment. This can be a challenge since new things and experiences tend to excite toddlers. As Dr. Sears reported for Parenting magazine, it's best to stick with the same nighttime routine you used when your child was in her crib. Keeping the rhythm of bedtime as familiar as possible will help your child to adjust faster to learning to sleep in the new bed. And it won't hurt to have some extra wine on hand to help you make it through the adjustment period as well.
With the freedom of a new bed, your toddler may decide it's super fun to get out of bed multiple times — don't let this discourage you. In time, the transition will be a thing of the past and the crib a distant memory. In the meantime, soak up some extra snuggles and a few more stories each night at bedtime.