Remember that very first night your infant slept through the night in his crib? Probably not because, more than likely, it was the first time you slept through the night since the day you gave birth to that sleeping beauty. You probably only remember falling asleep and then waking up to find yourself ascending into the heavens of parenting.
No parent who has ever experienced this feeling would ever want to revert back to sleepless nights of waking every few hours to feed and/or console their baby. Unfortunately, however, many do as their infant turns into a toddler.
While this is the case for many parents, it does not have to be for you. With these tips, your child’s transition from crib to toddler bed can be seamless.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission defines a toddler bed as “. . .any bed sized to accommodate a full-size crib mattress having minimum dimensions of 51 5⁄8 in. (1310 mm) in length and 27 1⁄4 in. (690 mm) in width and is intended to provide free access and egress to a child not less than 15 months of age and who weighs no more than 50 pounds (27.7 kg).” If your child fits these requirements, then you know it is time to start considering the move to a toddler bed.
It is important not to just go out and buy the first bed you find at your local furniture store or on the internet. You must make sure that the bed you purchase meets the CPSC’s updated standards for toddler beds. For more information on that, you can visit their website. After all, your child’s safety should always be your number one priority. It should be the first thing you consider when purchasing the right toddler bed.
Putting it into Practice
In order to make your child’s transition to a toddler bed as smooth as possible, consider following these steps:
Don’t rush it
Wait until you know your child is ready before you start the transition to a toddler bed. Your child must be able to fully comprehend the idea that he is graduating to a new bed in order to have success in this transition. Here are some ways to know that your child is ready to move on:
○ He is getting too big for his crib.
○ She has made multiple attempts to climb out of her crib.
○ He has made you aware that he doesn’t want to sleep in a crib anymore.
○ She is starting to show other signs of maturing (potty training, talking more clearly, etc.)
Once your child is ready to step up to the toddler bed, your next step is to pick the bed that works with your budget and your toddler’s personality.
As stated earlier, safety comes first, so make sure to purchase a bed that meets safety measures. Then, determine what kind of bed is best for your child. If your child loves to play with cars, consider a convertible themed bed. If she can’t get enough of Disney princesses, consider a carriage style frame. Maybe you don’t feel the need to purchase the world’s most elaborate toddler bed, but maybe you could decorate it with some fun sheets and blankets to make your child feel at home.
Pro Tip: If you purchased a crib that converts into a toddler bed, you will notice that it does not come with the rails needed to make that transition. It may be a good idea to purchase those rails sooner rather than later in case your crib is discontinued. The 4 in 1 cribs can be very convenient for many parents, but please be aware that you will need to purchase the added parts to convert the bed when it comes time.
Once your toddler is ready to move on to a bigger bed, it is time to make your best sales pitch. Spend a few weeks to a month playing up the fact that he gets to sleep in a new bed. If your child is showing signs that he is proud of his maturity in other aspects of growing up, maybe you can refer to his new bed as a “big boy bed”. Sometimes just calling it a “new bed” can work for some kids. You know your child better than anyone, so whatever his carrot is, don’t be afraid to dangle it.
It is a great idea to allow your child to take ownership in the new bed when it comes to decorating, picking it out, deciding where it goes in the room, and even deciding when to make the transition. This will make your child more excited about the opportunity to sleep in a bigger bed and will allow for a smoother adjustment.
Make it familiar
At this point, your child is pumped for her new sleeping arrangements, but don’t be so certain that she wants everything to be brand new. Many children want to feel that their new nightly home is just as comfy as their old one. Maybe an old baby blanket or her favorite stuffed animal will make her feel as if she’s safe in her new bed.
Now that you have had some fun, it’s time to get serious. One of the reasons you don’t want to rush your children into this transition is because they must be able to comprehend the safety rules that you set. The reason many parents balk at the idea of moving their child out of the crib is that it gives their child more freedom — freedom to get into trouble. One rule that I suggest is that they are not allowed to leave the bed unless given permission. This rule is important for their safety, as you do not want them to sneak out of bed while you are asleep and put themselves in danger. Any other rules you set are up to you, but this rule should be number one on every parent’s list. As your child gets older, you can loosen some of these rules, but at first, make sure she knows what is and is not allowed.
(toys, books, etc.)Because he is not allowed to leave the bed without your permission, he needs some things to keep him occupied if he happens to be awake while you are asleep. Having a two year old lay in a bed with nothing to do is just asking for trouble. He is more likely to follow your stay in the bed rule if he has things to occupy his mind. You don’t want the bed to be too cluttered, so maybe you can allow him to choose a set number of items to take to bed with him.
Consider a monitor
Even though your child knows your rules and loves her new bed, having a monitor on her at all times is still good practice. Let’s face it. Kids do things they aren’t supposed to do all the time, and your child is no different. Having a monitor that allows you to communicate with her from the other bedroom can ease your mind as you sleep.
Stay the course
If your nightly routine with your child has been successful to this point, don’t change it. The only thing that should change is the bed that he sleeps in. Remember, this transition should not cause either you or your child to lose any sleep. Changing up the whole routine could lead to just that. Don’t shock his system too much too soon. Your own sanity depends on it!
Now you have a toddler who sleeps safely and soundly in his own bed, and you can continue to do the same. The whole purpose of this transition is to allow your child a safe and comfortable place to sleep that also allows him to grow into his own. The thought of watching your child grow up may seem scary, but one of the best favors that you can do for both you and your child is provide him/her with a smooth transition into a “big boy/girl bed”.
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