The transition from a crib to a toddler bed is certainly one of the largest ‘changes’ in a child’s sleep situation that they will have in their early years. It signifies often other milestones like potty-training, preschool or perhaps a little brother or sister is on the way. This article will help parents to understand when is the right time to transitions your little one to a ‘big kid’ bed and when some parents may be doing it early, or for all the wrong reasons.
The first question you need to ask yourself is ‘why am I making the transition?” If the answer is to save money on another crib, the headache that may cause if you do it too early may not be worth the savings. (You can get a great crib on WayFair for under $200. Often times, parents will push their toddlers at 18 months to a big kid bed because a little brother or sister is coming. This, in my opinion, is not a great reason at that age. If your child sleeps great in the crib, leave them there. What’s the hurry? When a child is under the age of 3, there is a world of danger that lurks in the night and a big kid bed makes those dangers now within their reach. Can they get out of bed and accidentally fall down the stairs? Will they start getting out of bed to come visit you, simply because they can? Are their toys in their room that they would prefer to play with over staying in bed and sleeping? Do you want them wandering the house, with potential dangers everywhere while no one is supervising them? If you think about these questions, you can now see where I am going with this. Keep them in the crib, for their own safety.
Now, if your toddler has determined a way to climb out of the crib, I suggest getting a wearable blanket, flipping it around so the zipper is along their backs and then when they try to climb out, they just slide down the bars. Certainly, safety is key and sometimes a need to get a child in a bed will happen, just ensure you take proper precautions to keep them safe and in their room with a video monitor showing their bed.
When you determine for your family that it is the right time, get the child involved and excited. Perhaps they get to pick-out a new pillow with Mickey Mouse on it, or choose a new stuffed animal to snuggle with. Also, you can pickup a set of bedrails relatively cheaply so ensure they don’t roll out of bed in their sleep and keep them feeling safe. Kids love feeling secure. Also, if they do start to wander to your room for an early morning visit, try the OK to wake clock. You need to set boundaries, you are the parents and you just opened up a whole new world of curiosity for them, so be patient.
I am working on a new ‘Sleep Survival Kit’ you can check out and download the handy bedtime routine chart. Kids are very motivated by stickers and rewards. The reward can be somethings as small as letting them pick-out what they want to wear or a trip to the dollar store. Stay tuned as I add more helpful guides to the site shortly! Remember, if they do wander down the hall, just calmly and quietly walk them back to bed. You don’t want to create any new bad habits or you will need to hire me!
Originally published at medium.com