When Can I Give My Baby A Toddler Bed

toddler bedMany parents wonder when is a suitable time to transfer their baby from a cot into a toddler bed, but there really is no hard and fast age when a toddler is ready to vacate their crib. A popular time to start this process is around 18 months, but it really is personal choice.

When Can I Give My Baby A Toddler Bed? Answer:  Personal Choice

For some little ones it needs to be done much earlier than eighteen months because mom is having another baby and the crib is needed for the new arrival.  Some parents are more than content to leave their little one in a crib until past the age of three. Some infants will request a big bed for themselves, especially if they have older siblings, long before their mom and dad are ready to let their youngest have a big bed. Every child and every situation is different, although that last one can come as a rather teary surprise to an unsuspecting mom that their baby has grown up!!

Signs Your Little One Will Exhibit That It’s Time For A Toddler Bed

There are signs that indicate there is a need for change, such as when your little one starts climbing or attempts to climb out of their crib, or when they ask for a big bed. You may even find that if you have more than one child your toddler climbs into bed with an older sibling. When parents choose to make the transition for their baby from crib to bed it is a step for the whole family, but it is a normal one and relatively easy. There is such an array of toddler beds available for parents to choose from that there is sure to be a bed to accommodate your little one’s needs.

What is the best way to make the transition from crib to toddler bed

If originally you purchased a convertible crib that actually turns into a toddler bed by removing the front panel, this can make the change less dramatic for your toddler. To mark this special occasion and help your little one to feel excited about the change, try letting them pick out their new sheets, their new bed etc. If you are concerned that your little one can fall out of their bed you can add guard rails on each side of the new bed or you can place the mattress directly onto the floor. Some children will transition smoothly, others will have anxiety. Remain positive about the transition and give them choices and make them part of the process. If you do have issues with the transition, don’t let them back into the crib. If you establish a reward of going backwards they will repeat the behavior the next time you attempt to transition.

It is also important that if your toddler is giving up their crib for a new baby to make sure the switch is done with an extra large dose of TLC. You do not want your little one to feel displaced, so try and get the new bed before the new baby arrives.  You can ease your little one into it by letting them have practice naps in it, this will help them feel more comfortable with the new setup. Your little one may surprise you and head for the new bed anyway which of course will make it so much easier on you.

Safety When Transitioning to a Toddler Bed

When you are positioning the new bed, make sure that you place it away from windows, wall lamps, radiators, curtains, drapes, or window blind cords to be as safe as possible. It may be a good idea to place the new bed in the same location as the crib, as you would already have placed that in a safe position in the room.

Your little one will discover that it is much easier for them to get up and about to roam around the room, so you should take extra precautions to make sure that your home and their bedroom is safe and secure. Reinforce bedtime and playtime rules – you don’t want your child continuously getting up. Remember that the initial novelty of transitioning to the big bed will result in them getting up – simply because they can get out and it is a new behavior.

Patience and praise is important for successful transition from crib to toddler bed.

Of course when you have set up the toddler bed for your little one and transition is all going well, you also find that your little one is also enjoying the novelty of being able to get up and out of their toddler bed, so be prepared that your little one may become a wanderer for a time. This is where your patience will be needed. When this happens do make it as boring as possible for your little one, calmly and silently return them to bed. Some parents who find that their child will not cooperate find it easier to put gates at the bedroom door, but if your little one can climb out of their crib, then there is a great change that the gate will not be an obstacle to them. You could also put the bed in the same spot where the crib was and continue with the routine of bath, book reading and bed.

 

If you find that your little one does enjoy roaming about their room at bed time what you can also try is to give your little one a sticker for each night that they stay in their bed and at the end of the week reward her with a special treat, such as an extra story at bedtime or a favorite family outing. Your toddler loves to both please you and being able to do things for themselves, so helping your little one to love their toddler bed will be a wining situation all round.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Christina June 5, 2014 at 3:25 am

I think this was a very helpful post. You are correct when you say that the transition affects the entire family as both the parents and the child may have anxiety. For me my child sleeps with me, recently she has started moving away from me to get her own space so I think it’s time for the transition.

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canigivemybaby June 24, 2014 at 1:12 am

It’s always a big step! I wish you all the very best with your child’s new bed and good luck!

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