Transitioning to Toddler Beds

 

   There are many reasons why parents start looking at transitioning their toddlers to big kid beds. Some of the common ones are: climbing out of the crib, expecting another child, age, and potty training. What ever your reasons are though, here are some helpful hints on how to make the transition easier. 

 

   Some things to keep in mind: Do not make the move at the same time as other major changes, such as the birth of another child or moving. Give 2-3 months before or after any major change. If your child is crawling out of the crib, make the change for safety reasons. The age range for moving to a toddler bed is rather large. Some parents make the switch around 12 months and others not until the child is 3 years old. The average age is around 2 years.

If your crib converts to a toddler bed I highly recommend you use that conversion rather then getting another toddler bed or larger. Not only does this save some money but it will make the transition a little easier because it is a bed that is familiar to them. If your crib doesn't convert and you are money conscious, then I would go straight to a twin bed with the mattress and box-spring on the floor. Putting it on a frame may make the bed too high if he/ she falls out at night. Also you will want to put guard rail up to help prevent falling out while they sleep.

   Clear the room. You will want as little furniture in the room as possible. I suggest only having their bed and dresser. Lamps, sound-machines, and so on can be put on top of the dresses. Take out all the toys except any that have been in their crib. If they haven't had any in their crib you might want to think about 1-2 stuffed animals and a glow worm that plays music.

   Now is a good time to introduce a pillow if you haven't before. Try to find a flat or firm pillow to start with and a regular pillow case. As far as other bedding is concerned, they have complete toddler bed sets in stores, but if you are trying to save costs you can continue to use your old crib sheets (if it is a toddler bed) and use a larger blanket (throw size). I highly recommend the fleece throw blankets to start with.

   If it is a younger child (under 2 ½ years) some parents opt to install a video camera to be able to watch and see what their kids are doing. You can find these as cheap as $60 for cameras and a video monitor. When pricing these keep in mind that you really want a wired system, not wireless. Although the wireless is easier to install and seems more convenient, it can also potentially be viewed by others if they hack the system. I found the video cameras to be especially useful for those who have multiples.

   Once you have all your equipment it is time to make the big change. Talk with your child about it before hand. Explain that they are a big boy/ girl now and make them a part of changing their room around. Some people will even throw a little “big kid” party celebrating the switch. You'll want to make the switch in the morning. It is very likely that they will not really nap the first day or two as they get used to the change and this is normal. Put them down around they same time they usually go and leave them in there the same amount of time as they usually are for their nap. So if they usually take a nap from 12-2pm, then put them in there from 12-2pm.

   Don't be alarmed if you find your little one sleeping on the floor or under the bed. They will get the hang of it and stay in their beds as they get used to it. Do not be tempted to go and lay in their bed with them to help them fall asleep. This will start to create a bad habit that will make for a lot of issues later on.

   Like with everything else, transitioning to a toddler bed is a big change for them and you. Have patients and they will get the hang of it.