What do you need to know when transitioning your child from crib to bed?
Your child’s transition from crib to bed is a bittersweet milestone that may happen as early as 15 months or might not happen until after your tot’s third birthday, depending on your child. The transition often depends on your kiddo’s physical skills, but it’s important to make the move before your tyke becomes an escape artist.
Generally speaking, if your toddler seems like they are plotting their first crib break-out, or you’ve caught them vaulting commando-style over the railing, it’s probably time when to move them to a bed.
One more thing to consider: If you’re expecting another baby, move your toddler out of the crib a few months before little baby brother or sister arrives.
Is your child ready to transition from crib to bed? | Image source: iStock
When to transition your child from crib to bed
Sometimes, your toddler may seem comfortable and contented with their crib and show no attempts to climb. Your toddler will be in a safe and comfortable, sleeping environment. There are no developmental issues with waiting for them when putting them from the crib and transitioning to bed.
When is the right time to transition your toddler at 2 years old from crib to bed?
Approximately, 3 out of 10 toddlers transition to bed when they reach 18 months old to 2 years old. Another 1/3 toddlers transition from crib to bed between ages 2 to 2.5 years old.
Generally speaking, toddlers prefer transitioning to bed at 18 months old to 3 years old. Having this wide age range means there are also many factors to consider before doing this change.
However, unlike other development milestones, this crib-to-bed transition does not always come naturally. Meanwhile, as a general rule, to avoid potentially hurting themselves, parents should make the change before toddlers attempt to climb out of the crib.
Easing the transition to a toddler bed
Before making the switch to a big-kid bed or twin bed, you’ll prepare the “logistics”. The following are the tips of easing your toddler’s switch from crib to their bed, and for them to have this happily.
- Don’t rush to move from crib to bed
- Avoid the transition during a time of stress
- Choose the right toddler bed
- Let your toddler help in choosing their bed
- Allow your toddler to choose their own beddings
- Permit your toddler to keep their old comfort objects
- Start with naps only
- Help them create a sleeping routine
Is your toddler crying or afraid when he/she transition to bed?
Some toddlers are afraid of the concept of their parents leaving them in bed and will cling to you. In this situation, we need to understand that this crying and frightened feeling needs expression. Never leave your child crying alone in their toddler bed.
Transition from crib to bed: First steps
Prior to the transition, make sure the crib mattress is on its lowest level and that it’s free of any toys or bumpers that your tot could use to hoist themselves over the railing.
The top of the crib rail should be above their collarbone, and you should place a soft rug on the floor of the room with a non-slip mat under it)… just in case. Falls from that height can result in serious injuries.
Once you’ve decided your tot is ready for a toddler bed, there are a few ways to get your toddler excited about the move:
Prepare during the day
Tired tots are especially resistant to change. Get your child used to the new bed by making it a routine place for quiet play or massage and napping during the day, times when she’ll be more flexible.
Use familiar sleep cues
Sleep cues that your toddler is already used to, like a favorite lovey, white noise, or a familiar bedtime routine, can help ease the transition from crib to bed.
Tell special big-kid-bed stories
Make up stories or read books about how much fun it is to sleep in a big-kid bed. Or make a special Beddy-Bye book that you can peruse together every day with pictures of family members (and your dog!) asleep in their beds.
‘Gossip’ to your child’s dollies or teddies during the day about how well she is adjusting to her new bed. (Gossip makes praise more effective than if you delivered it directly to your tot!)
Invest your child in the process
Take your kiddo shopping for bedding and let her have a say in what you choose! This will help her feel part of the transition process and become enthused about her new sleeping space.
Snoozing off in his big kid bed. | Image source: iStock
Kidspot recommends these toddler safety products:
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Transition from crib to bed: Safety first
The downside to moving your toddler to a bed is that they can pop out anytime they want! That means you’ll need to take some extra precautions to keep them safe.
How to keep your toddler in bed when transitioning from crib
- Childproof the room really well. Cover electric outlets, keep curtain cords out of reach, and address sharp corners.
- Use a gate to keep them in her room. If they climb over it, take some time to train them to stay in the room or even close the door. Tell them something like, “Sweetie, this is Mr. Gate! Mr. Gate will help you stay safe… so at bedtime, after we sing and read and say night-night… then we’ll close Mr. Gate… and he will help you stay happy in your room all night.”
- Consider a doorknob cover. If the gate doesn’t do the trick, you may need to close the door and put a doorknob cover on the inside of the door to her room to keep her safely inside.
Update their routine
Along with upgrading your child’s bed, you’ll also want to upgrade their bedtime routine! A toddler bedtime routine can help your tyke wind down and learn that they have expected to stay in bed. Here are a few tips on creating a toddler bedtime routine.
You may also find my favorite bedtime trick, Twinkle Interruptus (which involves stretching your tot’s patience so they get used to dozing off without Mum or Dad in the room) helpful during this transition!
Moving a toddler from the crib to a bed is a big moment in your child’s life… and yours, too! As with all life changes, it can be a little stressful, but with a little planning, you should all be sleeping soundly soon. Good luck!
What about transition from toddler bed to twin bed?
Generally, your toddler ages and grows quickly as others may say. Some toddlers are switching from their toddler bed to a bigger, twin bed at the age of 3 to 4 years old. In this short span of time, there could be many development milestones that happened.
The following are the reasons if your child needs to switch from toddler bed to twin bed:
- Your child approaches the limited weight for their toddler bed
- Your child always wants to get in bed with you
- They are starting to feel uncomfortable
- They are about to be a big brother or sister
- You need to move out or to redecorate the house
- They are wondering about a “big kid bed”
Dr. Harvey Karp is the founder of Happiest Baby and one of America’s most trusted paediatricians. His highly innovative and celebrated books/videos, The Happiest Baby on the Block, The Happiest Toddler on the Block and The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep have been translated into dozens of languages and have made him one of the world’s most renowned baby and sleep experts. Dr. Karp’s breakthrough discoveries —the calming reflex, the 5 S’s and Toddler-ese — have benefited millions of parents and are taught by thousands of specially trained educators in over 20 nations.
Sweet dreams, little one. | Image source: iStock
This article was first published in KidSpot and republished on theAsianparent with permission.
Republished with permission from theAsianparent Singapore
Additional information by Nathanielle Torre
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