When should your baby ‘graduate’ from a crib to a toddler bed? While you may wish that your cutie-pie fits into his or her crib for years, the day will come when they’ll have to grow up. There are some Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to this transition. They mostly arise from the attachment that your child has with the crib–cribs are the home base, fort, castle, security, battleship, boat, prison, and comfort all in one.
Children that are between 1½ and 3 years old are usually ready to move from a crib to a toddler bed. Potty-trained children benefit the most from the transition because they can get in and out. The transition from a crib to a full-sized bed right away would most likely be too large of a change for two reasons: toddler beds have safety rails for the ‘active’ sleepers and children generally feel safer in a smaller bed. The transition to a full-sized twin bed should come later as the toddler outgrows his/her small bed.
Since most kids don’t have very much choice in matters (i.e. food, clothing, bedtime, bath, etc.) it is highly recommended that the child is given full choice in this simple manner. Allow your toddler to choose when they want to move to a larger bed and pass on the ownership to them. Show them new beds to encourage them to make the move.
They’ll get used to the idea and hopefully get excited about going to the store and help pick out their new bedding.
Put the new bed in the same location where the crib was located. Continue encouraging your child and playing up the new bed even if they take it just fine. If the child doesn’t like the new toddler bed it is okay to let them go back to their crib—some children just don’t like change. Just try to build up the excitement again and try to introduce it at a later time. If the child wants to keep their old nursery set up, let them.
Never make multiple changes to a toddler’s life or schedule at one time. If they are potty training or moving, or welcoming a sibling, or dealing with a new babysitter, or experiencing another change let them first settle into a quality routine. Don’t rush your child. Forcing them to be a ‘big’ boy or girl could be dangerous if they aren’t ready because they could fall out or get out in the middle of the night and resort to mischief or act out to get attention.
Finally, a toddler bed should be of high quality and fun. Put extra thought into making it a welcome and fun place for your child and they should be more than willing to go to bed at the right time. Don’t forget: a new, good quality bed is better than a bike or big toy because they use it every day for a lot longer than any toy.