5 Signs That Your Kiddo Is Ready For A Toddler Bed
Whether your toddler is still sleeping long hours in their crib or they’re already climbing out, they will soon graduate from their crib to a big kid bed. For some people, this means moving up to a toddler bed; others go straight to a twin bed. This is a huge milestone for both you and your little one.
Your child will be ready for the transition at some point during their toddler years. However, there is no set age that your toddler must make the switch, as every child will move at their own pace.
How to Know Your Child is Ready for a Toddler Bed
Here are some signs that will let you know it’s time to switch your child to a toddler bed.
1. They Climb Out of the Crib
Whether your child has just started bringing swinging their legs up the side walls of the crib or have already propelled themselves over the edge, a transition is imperative at this time. This is certainly a safety issue because your child could injure themselves by climbing over the crib rail.
2. They Get Very Upset in the Crib
If your little one has a hard time with their bedtime routine, whether it be falling asleep, night wakings, or even morning terrors while in the crib, it may be time to make the switch. If they’re throwing tantrums, screaming, or fighting sleep while in the crib, the next step may be climbing out.
The first time that my daughter climbed out of her crib was when she was going through the two-year-old sleep regression. She would constantly fight bedtime and kick and scream in her crib before falling asleep. Kids tend to get extra courage when they are worked up and upset, increasing their chance of climbing out. Since this is a safety hazard, you may want to make the transition to the toddler bed or twin-sized bed sooner rather than later.
3. They’re Too Large for the Crib
If your child is big for their age, they may feel too cooped up in a crib. You want them to feel comfortable in their bed so they can get a good night’s sleep (and not crawl into yours). Their size may also play a factor in whether they can climb out. Even if you don’t see your toddler actively climbing over the crib rails, they may be already tall enough to throw their body over and do it when you least expect it.
4. They are Approaching the 3-Year-Old Mark
Although I stated above that there is no magic age when the transition to a toddler bed is needed, around three years old is probably a good time to give it a try. By three, you should notice that your child is growing more mature and has a better understanding of safety and following the rules. You may feel like your child will understand the need to stay in their big kid bed and be aware of safety precautions related to being in their bedroom alone.
5. They Want to Feel Like a “Big Kid”
If your toddler has already stated that they feel like a baby in their crib or that they want a big kid bed, it may be time to give in. A toddler may see their crib as an item for babies, especially if you have another baby in the house.
Tips to Transition Your Child to a Toddler Bed
If your child has been displaying any of the above behaviors or signs, it’s probably a good time to start the transition to a toddler bed. Whether you want to make it a quick switch, or gradually expose them to their new bed is your choice.
If you’re wondering how to transition to a toddler bed smoothly and easily, here are some tips for you:
1. Let Them Pick Out Their Bedding
Your little one is capable of making their own decisions now, and this independence will be so exciting for their transition. Show them pictures and consult with them on the color of their bed sheets, comforter, new pillows and stuffed animals for their new bed. Have them pick their favorite characters or colors to get them more excited about the bedding switch.
2. Make it a Celebration
Decorate their room with lots of fun decor and make a big party for their new transition. If you treat it like a party, they are bound to get excited for it.
3. Choose the Best Bed Option
Decide which big kid bed would be the most appropriate for your toddler. There are simple toddler beds which use a crib-sized mattress and some come in fun themes like a princess castle or race car. There are also convertible cribs that turn right into a toddler bed, just by taking off one of the rails. You may also choose to transition them right into a twin or full-sized bed, if your kiddo needs more space. This will also make it easier, since you won’t need to make another bed switch later on.
4. Be Sure It’s Good Timing
You don’t want to add too much change to your toddler’s life all at once. So try not to make the transition to the toddler bed during potty training, bringing home a new baby, a house move, or starting a new school.
5. Talk to Them About the Switch
Your toddler understands more than you think. Keep open communication about the switch, as you tell them that they’re becoming a big kid with this change.
6. Make it a Slow Transition
If you think that your child will have trouble with the change, start off gradual. First, change the bedding, then the bed while keeping the room the same. If you want to change their room, do that after you’re sure that the bed transition went well.
Now that your child will have the ability to move around their room while you’re not there, you will have to make sure the room is safe. This includes keeping the windows locked, placing a gate at the top of the stairs, secure heavy furniture to the wall, declutter the room, close doors to other rooms in the house, and set up a baby monitor to keep watch.
You’ll definitely notice signs when your toddler is ready to make the transition to a toddler bed. The switch doesn’t have to be tough if you follow your child’s cues and communicate this big milestone to them effectively.