It took long enough getting baby to learn to sleep in their crib, and now not too long after, the learning process continues while transitioning to a toddler bed. There is no rule for when it’s the right time; every situation and every child is different. Most children make the transition at some point between 12 months and 3 years, that’s a wide range! It’s important to try to get a feel for when your toddler is ready and to take one step at a time.
If you are not ready to make the switch but your busy babe insists on climbing out of the crib- a simple solution would be to take out the metal foundation and lay the mattress directly on the floor to shorten it another few inches. Another option is to put a sleep bag on them to insure they can no longer get their legs up and over the railing. Putting the sleep bag on backwards is always an option so they can’t unzip it!
Assuming both you and your toddler are ready, here are a few tips to hopefully make the transition as smooth as can be!
This should be the number one priority and biggest concern for parents when it comes to making this change. You did what you could to make the crib safe, now you have to make the entire room safe! Secure furniture to the walls, remove dangerous breakables, throw in some electrical outlet covers, and make a soft landing next to the bed in case of a tumble. The higher the bed, the more a bed rail should be considered. A lot of newer cribs as of late (such the Oeuf Sparrow Crib, the Oeuf Rhea Crib, or the Babyletto Scoot 3-in-1 Convertable Crib with Toddler Bed Conversion Kit) have a convertible feature where you take off a part or two and add some new parts and just like that, your crib is now a toddler bed! Other cribs have the ability to just have the front side taken off, this way your toddler is still sleeping in the same bed in the same place and that makes for a smooth switch to a big bed. Another safety item to think about is a doorknob safety cover so your kid isn’t roaming the house in the middle of the night!
Avoid Other Big Life EventsThis may be difficult since toddlers are often transitioned due to a new baby coming to take their turn in the crib. If this is the case, try to make the move a good 2-3 months before baby arrives so they get used to the new bed before more changes occur. Other changes to avoid at this milestone: moving, getting rid of pacifier, starting preschool, potty training, etc. Uprooting other routines at this time can be stressful for young ones and could make the transition time unnecessarily long and messy.
This is a Big Deal!
Get your child involved and excited about this milestone! If you have a Lullaby Earth mattress, let them help you flip it from the firm newborn side to the softer toddler side! If they’re able to, allow them to pick out the new bedding that goes on their big kid bed! Talk about it ahead of time to get them excited and make a big deal that they are big enough, cool enough, and lucky enough to get a new big bed! Let them watch the setup and be apart of the entire transition process. Doing these things will boost their confidence and dampen the uneasiness that often comes with change.
Keep the Same Routine
If you don’t have one already, now is the time to get a bedtime routine! Bathing, brushing teeth, reading, singing songs, turning on the nightlight, turning off lights, closing windows, combing hair, putting on lotion, and so many other things can be encompassed into a nightly routine. If you have one already, great! Don’t change anything! You may not be breastfeeding or putting Goumikids Mitts on anymore, and it may be in a different bedroom, but your routine will still have the same effect on your little one as it always has. Instead of laying them down in a crib, you’ll put them on their new bed or have them climb up themselves!
If your child loves to sleep with you after having a bad dream, a rough night, or when they aren’t feeling well maybe now would also be a good time to transition them from sleeping in your bed to sleeping next to your bed. Throw a sleeping bag on the floor or set up a cot near your bed for them to sleep on. This will become their big kid bed in your bedroom if needed. This way you will all get a better night’s sleep and hopefully your young one will decide they like their own bed more than the hard floor or uncomfortable cot.
The first few nights may be a little rocky while your toddler experiences his/her newfound freedom and independence and figures out how to fall asleep in a new bed. But like most hard things, it'll be worth it when it is all said and done. Good luck to you all! What are some of your handy tips for transitioning to a toddler bed?