Transitioning Your Toddler from a Crib to a Bed

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I love cribs.

They are like little holding cells nests for your kids, keeping them in one place where you know they will be safe and protected {though you may have an adventurous climber who begs otherwise}. A peaceful place where they sleep and sometimes play so mommy can take a shower. Alas, all good things must come to an end.

tips

Tips for the Transition

1. Timing.

Don’t rush it. If your toddler is sleeping great in the crib, there really is no need to move them. Ideally, they will let you know when they are ready. However, a new baby, a toddler outgrowing their crib, or climbing toddler may force your hand to move them earlier, and that’s okay too. The average age parents move their kiddos is two-and-a-half.

2. Safety.

Start here first. Think about the bed; you will need side rails to protect your child and a night light in case they fall or get out of bed during the night. Also, consider what is around their room. Make sure all furniture is secured to the wall. If there are stairs nearby have child gates assembled. Assess what the child can access if they were to get up from their bed (doors, windows, toilets), and work to make sure that they are secured.

3. Strategy.

Tap into your mom-gut with this one. What is your child’s temperament? What are the circumstances surrounding the decision to make the move? Do they need to be eased into the transition or will too much talk frighten them? Change can be challenging for some toddlers, especially when they are moving away from a place of security and comfort.

Involve them in the process. Talk to them about the bed. Allow them to help you pick out their bedding and get the bed decorated and ready. There are even books you can read to your child about moving from a crib to a bed. Here are a few: Big Enough for a BedYour Own Big Bed and I Love to Sleep in My Own Bed.

Make the bed welcoming. Fill the bed with their favorite colors and comfort items. Create a space where they want to be and where they are comfortable.

Slowly make the change if you can. Take it easy and allow them to feel comfortable and take ownership of the bed. Play on the bed with them. Read books on the bed. Put them in their bed for naps for a few weeks before you make the move. Be patient. Some kids will take to the bed right away, and others may need a few weeks to adjust to their new space.

IMG_9930My Experience. In our case, we decided to move my son from a crib to a bed when he turned two, because we were having another baby 5-months after his second birthday. Basically, we needed his crib. Within that time we were also moving him to a new room, pulling his pacifier, and, oh yeah, we were hoping to potty train him too. We decided it would be best to space out all these major life changes over several months, in hopes that he wouldn’t feel totally shell-shocked when the new baby came. Since my son was still a small toddler, I decided to buy a toddler bed (which is cozy like a crib) with built-in rails from Ikea instead of a bigger bed. When he turned two I started putting him in the bed for his nap every day for about a month. He napped well and it allowed him to get used to his bed and new space. After a few weeks, I moved him completely. We had no issues with missing his crib and he fell in love with his new bed right away. Around three, he started to outgrow the toddler bed, and we moved him to a full-size bed. He now sees his brother in the crib and doesn’t even remember it was his. How quickly they forget!

How did you move your toddler to a new bed? When and why did you decide it was time?

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Lauren is a proud Texan turned Denverite for life. She lived in Denver's Platt Park neighborhood for four fabulous and fun-filled years, and recently moved further south near Cherry Creek State Park and the Denver Tech Center. She is a stay-at-home-mom of two kids under three, and being a mom brings more joy and completeness than she ever imagined. She is happy, but tired, mostly tired. In her former life sans kiddos, she had the job of her dreams in the non-profit/event-planning world, which took her all over the country including Dallas, New York, Las Vegas and finally Denver. Somewhere in the middle she met a man who loved the mountains, married him in 2010, left Texas for good and had two sweet and handsome little boys. She was shocked when they let her take the first one home without an instruction manual. Alas, she is daily figuring out motherhood through trial and error, good community, and a whole lot of grace. Her favorite things are coffee and chardonnay, books and baths, and quiet time, which she happily looks forward to in 18-years. She writes over at Happy Haven Blog about all things home and family. You can follow her daily adventures at Happy Haven Blog's Facebook Page.

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