So many parents have been there. You walk into the nursery, only to find your toddler in the throes of attempting to hurl her entire body over the rail like Simone Biles on the vault. In less than three years your child has outgrown the crib and you are now faced with a very important, dare I say, life-changing decision: should you buy a toddler bed or a regular bed?
Some parents were smart enough to consider this dilemma in advance and added a convertible crib to their baby registry. But, if you're anything like me, you actually spent that excruciatingly long day carefully choosing the most useless baby items ever (a wipe warmer, a bottle sanitizer, four pairs of baby Nikes.) Now you must figure out if you will order the adorable little toddler bed you saw online, or spend three hours dealing with furniture sales people in order to pick out a bed that will, hopefully, last until she is off to college (or Olympic gymnast training school.)
Unfortunately, there is no one correct decision. There are pros and cons to both beds, and it really all depends on your child, your home, your time and your budget.
Toddler Bed Pros:
- Fits into small spaces such as right next to your bed, since your kid ends up there every night, anyway.
- It will leave more room for your child to play.
- You can use the same crib mattress.
- You can use the same crib bedding.
- It has higher sides so your toddler shouldn't roll out of the bed overnight.
Toddler Bed Cons:
- Only useful for a short period of time.
- It will eventually become another item to have to store in the attic or sell on Craigslist.
- You will need the crib mattress if you have another baby, and then you will own two crib mattresses.
Twin/Full Size Bed Pros:
- It should last your child until (and likely throughout) adulthood.
- You will solve your problem with one purchase instead of two (toddler bed, then a regular bed).
- It can be delivered and put together by professionals.
- Your child will only have to transition once.
- There will be room for you to lie down with your child to read or when they're sick.
Twin/Full Size Bed Cons:
- It will be a bigger investment because you will have to buy the bed plus the mattress and box spring.
- You will likely be convinced by the pushy sales people into buying an entire bedroom set to match the new bed.
- The mattress might be ruined during the nighttime potty training/bed wetting eras.
- If you allow your toddler to help pick out the bed, you may end up with something they will likely outgrow (bunk bed/canopy bed/race car bed).
Whatever you decide, make sure your child is aware of the change that's to come and that you prepare them for the transition from crib to bed.