The next big thing you may be thinking about changing in your little toddler’s life is when to switch them into either a toddler bed, or go straight to a twin bed. A toddler bed is usually a bed that is low to the ground, and the mattress is the same size as a crib. There are a lot of convertible crib choices that switch from a crib straight into a toddler bed.
How old before I switch from the crib?
Usually the switch to toddler bed doesn’t happen until your child is two years old. Though your toddler may be ready to switch earlier, or even sometimes later. Some people wait until their toddler is three to start switching beds. Anywhere between fifteen months, and three seems to be the normal age range to switching to a bigger bed.
Toddler bed or twin bed?
You don’t necessarily have to switch to a toddler bed. Some people opt to go straight to a twin bed.
There are some things you will want to make sure your toddler bed has to be the safest option for your child. Usually they are low to the ground. They can have rails, but not all of them do. Some toddler beds can look like race cars, or fire engines if you think your child would prefer a fun bed to make the switch easier. You will want your toddler bed to be sturdy, especially if you have an active sleeper that rolls and flops around a lot.
Placement of the bed is key as well. You will want to make sure that it has ample amount of space between the sides and a wall, or has a rail to stop the possibility of your child getting trapped between the wall and crib. The headboard should be pushed flush up against the wall. There are rails, or wedges you can put on the side that is open to get in and out of to help alleviate the risk of falls. Putting sleeping bags, or pillows on the floor incase of a roll out. Before bed it is also important to sweep the surrounding area for sharp toys your child could land on or trip over in case of them getting out of bed.
Signs to watch for that you need to make the bed switch:
Now that you have the right bed that fits for your little one, how do you know when it is time to make the switch?
One of the first big indicators is your child trying to escape their crib. This can be trying to climb over the top, or leapfrog over the side. If you have seen your child do any of this or, even signs they are plotting to try to climb over it, maybe time for them to switch to a bigger bed.
Another push to get your toddler into a toddler bed is if you have another baby on the way.
If your toddler is in the process of potty training, or starting to potty train then you may want to switch them to a toddler bed. Crib sleeping, and potty training don’t mix well when trying to get to the potty quickly, since your child can’t get out of the bed on their own.
The last indicator that your child is ready for a toddler bed is if they are too big for the crib. If their head and feet touch either end of the crib, your child needs a bigger bed.
Don’t get discouraged. Here are some tips to help things go smoothly:
Remember any change will take time, and some children are very reluctant to. If it doesn’t work after trying for a few weeks, you are more than able to pause and re-evaluate. Switch back if able to, and try again in a month or two. There is no shame if your child isn’t switched to a toddler bed at the same pace as someone else you know. Every child is different, and switching to a toddler bed is a big step to growing up for your toddler.
If your child is giving you some push back in sleeping in their new bed, encourage them to do naps in the toddler bed. Start small helping them see the switch is normal and an exciting one. You can read them stories showing them what it will be like to switch to a big bed.
Talk to your children about this change. Show them what their new bed will look like. Be excited about it and tell them that they will have a big bed like you or like an older sibling. Have them help pick out new sheets for the bed or rearrange the room.
Keep bedtime routines the same. Don’t try to change too much along with the bed. Consistency is helpful for kids. An example bedtime routine could be starting with a bath, pajamas, quiet play for a little, bedtime story, rock and then laid down. Whatever helps your child wind down at the end of a busy day so they relax to sleep. Let your child pick their favorite stuffed animals, blankets, or pillow they want in their bed with them. Play their noise machine, and have a night light on if that is what they are used to as well.
Now that they will be in a bed that is easier to get in and out of you will want to re-evaluate your childproofing. Since there is a possibility of your child wandering around their room unattended if they wake up or before they fall asleep you will want to look at curtains, cords, sharp corners, and outlets. If you keep their bedroom door open and they could get to other parts of the house you will want to assess them as well. Make sure that there is a sturdy secure gate at the top of any stairs. Or if you leave their door open and put a gate in front of make sure it is tall enough they can’t climb over either.
Let your child know what the new rules and boundaries are with their new bed. This could be telling them to holler out when they wake up in the morning so you can go in and get them. For them to stay in their bed and only get out when you come into the room. Whatever you decide you want to have in place from the start make sure your child knows what you expect.
Be patient. With any change it can take time for an adjustment period. Encourage and praise when your child does a good job with sleeping or staying in their new bed. Don’t get too discouraged, if it doesn’t go well after a trial period, switch back. It may just be a few weeks you need to wait before you try again. Switching to a big bed does not have to be rushed in most cases. Your child will let you know when they are ready, it is a big step in growing up.
Anywhere between fifteen months, and three seems to be the normal age range to switching to a bigger bed.
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