There is really no standard or fixed time for you to replace your child’s crib with a toddler bed, when the time is right for your toddler to graduate from a cot to a bed, you will oftentimes know.
Most toddlers are not too eager to make the transition anyway, but often times the transition is made between 1 1/2 and 3 1/2 years old.
Pediatric sleep disorders expert, Deborah Lin-Dyken, advises to wait until your child is close to 3 when he is simply too big or too active to sleep in a crib anymore.
Safety is a legitimate concern for many parents who make the switch because they are worried that that their active toddler might climb or jump out of his crib, even though experts advise that it is best not to react to climbing out of the crib or any other unexpected sleep problem with a sense of alarm.
Here is a list of guidelines to help you and your toddler make a smooth transition from crib to bed;
1. Do Not Rush To Buy A Toddler Bed
Like we have said earlier, do not rush to buy a bed for your toddler because they just might not be interested in sleeping in one yet, if you do put them in a bed when they are ready, it may not be safe for them and finding sleep can become difficult.
Pediatric sleep expert Deborah Lin advises parents thus:
“Buy yourself some time by lowering the crib mattress as far as possible,
so the side rails are relatively higher and more difficult to climb over.”
2. Expecting A New Baby
This is another reason parents make the switch from crib to bed. If the arrival of another baby is impending, experts say you should make the switch at least six to eight weeks before you’re due. You want your toddler well settled in his new bed before he sees the baby taking over “his” crib.
“Depending on your toddler’s age, you could also consider delaying the switch until the new baby is 3 or 4 months old.
Your newborn will probably spend those months sleeping in a bassinet anyway,
and your toddler will have time to adjust to the new baby, making the transition to a bed easier when it does happen.”
according to Deborah (MD)
3. Your Baby May Not Readily Adjust
This is quite normal and can be expected, like with adults, some children adjust readily to change while others will have a hard time at it. First born children in fact are likely to resist the transition.
And if you are switching to bed because you are expecting, put the age of your first child into consideration rather than on the need to free up the crib.
Later-born children often have an easier time making the switch to a bed because they want to be just like their older brother or sister.
4. Put Your Toddler’s Bed In The Same Space
You can make the transition easy for your toddler by keeping his new bed in the same space that the crib was in. You should also retain his old crib blanket, even if it’s too small as the familiarity could soothe your child.
Be sure to put up a guardrail to prevent your newly graduated toddler from falling out of bed.
5. Get Your Toddler Excited
You can get your toddler pumped up about the transition by taking him with you when you go to pick out his “big-kid bed” if you’re buying it new.
But if it is been handed down from a cousin or someone your kid knows, you can get him excited about it, you could say for example “This was your cousin’t bed, and now it’s yours! You’re almost as big as him now!”
When you shop for the sheets, allow him pick his favorite characters, and encourage him to show his “big-kid bed” to visiting friends and family.
6. Do Not Give Up
If you find that you have made the switch too soon and your toddler is upset about it, do not give up right away. Encourage your child to try out the bed. If he’s still distraught after a few days, bring the crib back, because obviously sleeping difficulties can significantly affect your child’s health.
According to Deborah(MD);
“It takes a certain amount of cognitive development for your child to understand that
a bed has imaginary boundaries that he must stay within.
If your great sleeper all of a sudden takes a long time to fall asleep at night, gets out of bed many times,
or wanders around the house, he’s probably not ready for his own bed.”
7. Take A Step Back
Do not allow yourself to be feel overwhelmed by all the emotions that transitioning from crib to bed can bring. It is a milestone for you too, another sign that your little one is growing up.
Reflect on when you first set up your baby’s crib and now, then pour yourself some juice and have a private celebration of your own.