I’m a Big Kid Now!
A popular question I have been asked a lot recently has been about transitioning your little one from their crib to a toddler bed (a.k.a. the big kid bed). It may seem like something small and simple but truthfully, IT’S A BIG DEAL!
There are any number of reasons a parent may consider making the jump to a toddler bed – another baby on the way or potty training being two of the more common ones I hear. But, there’s also an equal number of reasons to hold off on making the switch – increased chance of night wandering, increased anxiety, etc. Everyone you ask will give you a different reason one way or the other and that’s totally alright.
For most developmental milestones (when to start solids, crawling, walking, etc), there are some agreed upon guidelines, cues, and/or age indicators that help you gauge your child’s level of readiness. When it comes to graduating from crib to bed though, this may be the most individualized milestone for your little one.
Ok, so you may be thinking, “that doesn’t answer my question” or “there has to be some advice you can give me.” Don’t worry, there is!
Always consider safety!
If your child has learned and is engaging in the sport of crib jumping, it’s time to make the switch. The last thing you want is your child falling or getting hurt if they are PERSISTENTLY trying to climb out of their crib (I say persistently because there are always one-offs; just because they successfully climb out once doesn’t mean they will again). That said, for most kids, this new trick comes when they are about 35 inches tall or somewhere between 18 and 24 months of age.
For me personally, my first transitioned to a toddler bed around 2-1/2 years old as it made it easier for night time toileting which he was asking to do. My youngest on the other hand, is just 2 and is happy as can be in the crib and will likely remain camped out there for a good while yet – quick, touch wood for me so I don’t jinx it 😉
When the time is right, there are definitely things you can do do to help ease the transition:
Preparation: Make sure your child is on board or gauge their interest. Talk to them about the change that is coming. Find a book to read together; give them a glimpse of what it means to be in a big kid bed. Talk about when you will make the switch, and countdown together towards it in a toddler friendly way (eg., sticky note countdown on the wall of 3-2-1).
The Bed: If your crib converts to a toddler bed, go with that! Even though it is different, there will still be a sense of familiarity for your child. If you need to purchase something new, allow your toddler to participate in the selection. Try to place the new bed in the same place, but do not keep crib and toddler bed in the same room together. If you are moving to a new bed, make the move a sure thing.
Bedtime Buddy: Continue to use their favorite blanket or stuffed animal for comfort.
Safety First: Invest in side rails for safety (they will also mimic the comfort of their crib). Consider a baby gate at the door to prevent night wandering. Make sure the bed is low to the ground so if they were to fall or climb out it’s not too far a drop.
Timing is Everything: Try to avoid taking on too many milestones at once. If you have another little one on the way (congratulations!), try to transition your older child well in advance of their arrival so you have time to iron out any kinks (ideally 4 – 6 months!). If you’re moving, potty training, or have other big changes happening, try to space things out so it’s not so overwhelming.
Perhaps the two most important piece of advice I can give though:
Try to keep all other elements of your bedtime routine the same. There is such a thing as too much change, especially for little ones.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! If your child is still content in their crib and there is no need to transition them to a toddler bed, consider holding off a while longer.
And as always, if there is more I can do to help – please reach out.
Cute pic of one of my former clients here! Made the transition this week like a CHAMP! Thank you, K + D for the pic! <3