Transitioning your toddler from crib to bed
There are a lot of transitions and milestones your child hits during toddlerhood. One such event that lends itself to increased stress and frustration is what we will be discussing in this article, the transition of your child from the crib to a bed.
Transitioning from a crib to a bed is a big deal and can often cause anxiety for both children and parents. However, events such as these should be truly celebrated, as they are big milestones in your child’s development.
Transitioning your child to a “big kid bed” is an event that doesn’t have clear developmental signs; however, is a significant part of your little guy or gal’s development. Often the choice to transition is that of the parents. Either because of safety concerns, the arrival of a new sibling, being potty trained and needing bathroom access at night, or you just feel your toddler is just ready. Whatever your reason is, it is important to help them feel safe, comfortable, and proud of their new transition. They are growing up!
Some tips and tricks to help make the transition easier on your toddler include:
- If your child is climbing out of the crib, it’s best to transition as soon as possible in order to keep them safe.
- If you are choosing to make the transition because of potty training, do not potty train and transition at the same time. Choose to work on and master daytime potty training first or transitioning from the crib first. You do not want to have too many changes at once for your child. It’s perfectly fine to potty train during the day, and incorporate a pull-up diaper at night.
- It is ok to let your child sleep in their crib after they are two years old if they still like it — wait to make the transition when you feel the time is right.
- If you have a new sibling arrival, introduce the “big kid bed” 1 to 2 months prior to the baby’s arrival. This is so your child does not feel like the baby is taking replacing their position in the family. Instead, your child is moving on to a bigger and better bed of their own. Make it a positive change!
- Have your child help you pick out the sheets or include them in part of the shopping experience for the new bed.
- Talk about sleeping in a big bed, and read books about a big kid bed.
- Continue with your same predictable bedtime routines. Some great routines include: putting on pajamas, brushing teeth, and then reading books or singing a song. A predictable routine can help your child feel grounded. If you already have a routine established it can help with their transition to let them know it’s still bed time.
- If your toddler is overly attached to his/her crib remove the crib once you have introduced the new bed. It can be stressful for a child to have to choose
- Introduce a ‘toddler clock’ or ‘ready to wake nightlight.’ This changes colors at times you select, and has a dedicated color for when your child needs to stay in bed and another when it is ok to get up
- You can also start with a mattress on the floor or a bed and add a side rail
Whether your toddler loves his/her new bed right away or if it takes a while to warm up to the transition, it is important to be patient and supportive as it’s a big step towards becoming an independent kid!