10 Things You Should Know Before Moving Your Child Into a Toddler Bed.

With so many of us wondering when to make the move from crib to toddler bed, I thought I would find a few facts and tips to help facilitate the decision. All of the following tips are from doctors or sleep experts.  

Unless this is your idea of a "toddler bed,"
then you better be sure your toddler is ready....

  1. Pediatric sleep disorders expert, Deborah Lin-Dyken, says there's no set time to make the move. Studies show most children make the switch sometime between ages 1 1/2 and 3 1/2. 
  2. Don't rush right out and buy a new bed the day your toddler climbs out of the crib. This IS NOT an indicator that he is ready. Lower the mattress all the way, and discourage climbing.
  3. The switch may really freak your toddler out. Place the new bed in the EXACT same place the crib used to be. Use the same bedding, crib toys/stuffed animals... Change as little as possible. 
  4. Don't just spring the new bed on your toddler.  Start talking it up at least a week in advance.  One expert says throw a big party to celebrate the bed's arrival. 
  5. Independence is an indicator that your child is ready to make the switch.  If your child takes pride in individual accomplishments, including feeding and dressing themselves, then it may be time. Kyle Pruett, M.D., a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center, in New Haven, Connecticut, says a sign of readiness is when your child calls out in the night and can be reassured just be hearing your voice.  
  6.  Don't introduce the new bed during potty training or moving to a new house.  Too many changes can freak a familiarity loving toddler out. -Dr. Laura Markham
  7. If the transition is due to the arrival of a new baby, experts recommend the transition be made and well adjusted to at least TWO months before the baby arrives.
  8. Let your toddler be involved every step of the way; including if possible, picking out the bed, and the new sheets, blanket and pillow if necessary. Make the new bed cozy and inviting.
  9. If you do not already have one, create a bedtime routine and stick to it leading up to the big night. Familiarity is key before this transition. One expert says to add white noise or music to the bedtime routine, if it is not already part of it, to help your child doze off.
  10. Be prepared for a long battle. This could (most likely will) be very scary for your little one, and may take quite a few nights of both, getting to sleep AND staying in the bed through the night, before things settle. Remember, this is ultimately your decision, you have to be comforting and understanding that this is very scary. Talk though your child's feelings and be reassuring that this is a wonderful thing.  'All big boys/girls sleep in a big bed.'

I would LOVE to hear what parents have to say. If you have dealt with this already, please share your experience or tips.

Side Note: As for now, FTD and I have decided not to move Ollie until he is fully potty trained.  He is happy in his crib, and we are happy to have him there.  He JUST turned two, we really do not see any reason to rush it along at this time. 

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com


Anonymous said...

I would encourage having your little one help you choose the bed and the bedding. Our little one picked out sheets and a special pillow for her 'Big Girl' bed. Then the sleeping in the bed began and it was a tough few weeks, yes weeks. She would not stay in her bed, up and down, up and down. So we eventually put a baby gate up at her door. This made her angry, but eventually she realized that it was OK to sleep in her big girl bed and that the gate was there to keep her safe. It felt like it took forever for her to get used to it, but when i look back now it wasn't that long or that bad. She was never scared of the bed, she liked the freedom of getting out of it on her own and wandering around her room and wanting to come and check on mom and dad. Good luck and lots of patience.

Christy Garrett @ Uplifting Families said...

My youngest still sleeps in his crib and he will be 3 in May. Our peditirician didn't recommend rushing and moving a toddler to a toddler bed. There are all sorts of dangers when your child can get up and roam the house when they sneak out of their bed. In fact, our ped recommended not moving him until he started climbing out.