10 Things To Know Before Transitioning To A Toddler Bed

The decision to move my son out of his crib and into a toddler bed was the source of many heated debates. As usual, I wanted to keep my baby in his crib, and the Aussie wanted his big boy (2ys) to be in a big boy bed. My husband won thanks to setting up the bed in Ollie's room and made a huge deal out of it. Buy the time I knew what was going on the kid was in his big-boy-bed.

That night, he was also in my bed. He NEVER did that before. I never co-slept Ever. The day we moved the kid out of his crib, was the day we essentially moved him into my bed. To keep you from the same shitty night sleep, below are 10 tips found while researching an article I thought I would share.

  1. There is no set rule, date, age, time, magical number. Pediatric sleep disorders expert, Deborah Lin-Dyken, says there's no set time to make a move. Studies show most children make the switch sometime between ages 1 1/2 and 3 1/2.
  2. Climbing Is Not Key. 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. Keep the decor.  The switch may 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. NO SURPRISES! 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. Wait For Independence To Reign Supreme. 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. One Thing At A Time. 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. Transition Before The Third Trimester. 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. Remember Who Needs To Really Love It. 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. Get The Routine Down. If you do not already have one, create a bedtime routine and stick to it leading up to the big night. Familiarity is key to 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. Prepare Yourself For A long Bitter 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 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 through your child's feelings and be reassuring that this is a wonderful thing.  'All big boys/girls sleep in a big bed.'

Unless this is your idea of a "toddler bed," 
then you better be sure your toddler is ready...
Personal Tip From Me To You: Toddler beds are dumb. Skip it and buy atlas a twin size bed. You'll be happy to have somewhere to sleep your child throws you out of your bed.

Good luck, it's not an easy transition, but with the right timing and attitude on both parties, this could be a good thing.

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


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