When to Transition to Toddler Bed
Doesn’t it feel like only yesterday you brought your baby home from the hospital? Somewhere between the sleeplessness nights and first toothless smile, your baby is now a toddler in training.
Here’s how to know when to transition to toddler bed, plus a few tips to help make the transition just a little bit easier.
is my baby ready for a toddler bed?
Let me out! Even if your little one isn’t speaking in full sentences, chances are they’ve let you know they’re ready for a toddler bed. In fact, he or she may forego trying to verbalize their disdain and take matters into their own hands; i.e. climbing out of their crib.
This is probably the best clue of knowing when to transition to toddler bed.
While there’s no steadfast rule, most little ones are usually ready to transition to a bigger bed somewhere between 18 months and 3-1/2 years of age, ideally closer to 3. The exact timing will vary, but if your child is able to make a break for it, is almost 3 feet tall or repeatedly asks to get a big kid bed, it’s the perfect time to make the switch.
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Knowing when to transition to a toddler bed is only one piece of the puzzle. You also need to know which type of bed is best. There are several options you can look at before making a final decision.
You can choose a toddler bed, which is more or less a smaller version of a twin bed, or you can choose a twin bed that comes equipped with safety rails. Toddler beds come in a variety of shapes and sizes, which can make knowing when to transition to toddler bed a lot easier.
For example, if your little one loves race cars or castles, finding a bed they will sleep in a snap. The third option is simply converting the crib into a toddler bed, if that’s the type you bought.
Toddler Bed Requirements
Regardless of the type you choose, you need to make sure the bed meets both your child’s needs and is safe. If you’re still shopping around, these the following in mind:
Durable: There’s going to be a lot of playing, wiggling and jumping on the bed, so make sure it can withstand that kind of treatment.
Low to the floor: You also need to keep the bed low to the foor. Not only does it prevent injuries, but it’s also easier for your child to get in and out bed. When to transition to a toddler bed relies heavily on this point.
Equipped with safety railings: The new bed should be equipped with side rails for your child’s protection.
Simplistic design: Choose a design that is both durable and safe for your child. Cute cutouts quickly become an eyesore if someone’s little finger get stuck inside.
Matches the mattress: To make sure you have a snug fit, it’s usually better to buy the bed frame and mattress together. However, you can also buy a toddler bed that specifically designed to be used with a high-quality high-quality crib mattress.
Finally, make sure any bedding and bed frame you buy is certified from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association.
Safety Tips for Toddler Beds
Once you make a decision, it’s time to assemble your toddler’s sleeping space while keeping safety in mind. To start, make sure you choose the right spot. Keep the bed away from any windows, curtains, electrical cords and heaters.
Try putting the headboard against a wall so there is enough space on both sides of the bed. You can also install safety rails on both sides of the bed to make sure your child doesn’t accidentally trap themselves between the wall and the bed.
Next, add a soft rug or another form of cushioning to soften your toddler’s fall. Before letting your child sleep in their new bed, make sure all the screws and joints are tightened.
How and When to Transition to Toddler Bed
Now that you know when to transition to toddler bed, it’s time for a bigger challenge. This involves deciding when to make the change. As expected, some new parents have a hard time knowing how to make the transition as smooth and safe as possible.
To help make the process easier, here are a few tips to safely transition to a toddler bed:
Time It Right
When to transition to toddler bed is as important how you go about it. The transition should be an exciting experience for your toddler, not one they fear. For instance, their life is already full of changes, so if you’re expecting another child, potty-training or putting them in pre-school, wait a bit before introducing them to a big kid bed.
Keep a Convertible In Mind
A convertible is when you can turn your toddler’s crib into a bed. You can accomplish this by simply removing the front panel. In turn, this can make the change less drastic for your little one. When transitioning to toddler bed, even the most excited of children sometimes want to revert back to their cribs.
Dour Research About When to Transition to Toddler Bed
A great way to make the change less scary for your child is to read them stories about moving. Talk about how the characters are “just like them” and are transitioning to their toddler bed with bravery.
Let Your Child Choose When to Transition to Toddler Bed
To make the transition a special occasion, let your toddler choose their new bed sheets and bedding. You can add to their excitement by encouraging them to further personalize their new bed with a few stuffed animals. Once the new bed is set up, they may happliy jump in without a second thought.
Go Over Your Childproofing
When to transition to toddler bed is important but when it comes to safety, the “when” takes a backseat. Even though you’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure your toddler’s safety, it doesn’t hurt to double check.
Use safety gates to block the stairs, lock the windows and doors that lead outside or to the basement.
Furthermore, make sure to double check that your toddler can’t get into an area with medication, cleaning products and other hazards.
Try Easing Them Into It
If you’re expecting another baby soon, you may opt to use the crib of your first toddler. If so, then you need to buckle down on the TLC. Understanding when to transition to toddler bed is only part of the equation.
Technique and execution are equally important.
No parent wants their child to feel like their not important anymore. Try getting your toddler’s new bed set up before the new baby arrives. Allow them to nap in it a few times so they can get used to their new area.
Keep the Bedtime Routine the Same
Put your little one’s new bed in the same area where their crib was. If you’re one of those parents who does the bath-books-bed routine, keep it going. Mixing up the bedtime routine can make the transition to a toddler bed unnecessarily stressful.
Limit Their Exploration
Many children who are given freedom for the first time will try to take advantage of it whenever they can. As a parent, you have to reinforce the bedtime rules. This means you give them one last chance to ask for stuffed animals, water and trips to the bathroom before tucking them in for the night.
With all the tips listed, it seems like a piece of cake to put your child to bed, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case. The transition to a toddler bed is foreign to your little one. So, make sure you’re mentally prepared to deal with the many excuses your toddler will make to escape their room.
When to transition to toddler bed is a huge decision for both you and your child. As such, the excuses of wanting another drink of water or to snuggle with you are sure to happen for a few nights.
As aggravating as this may be, you need to keep your cool. Yelling or scolding at your toddler for getting out of bed does nothing but make them fear you.
If you find your child has snuck into your room, gently pick up your toddler and place them back into their bed. Let them know that you’re there and everything is okay.
It’s important to ensure your child is ready and willing. Even if you think they are, you need to be certain that when to transition to toddler bed is best.