It’s said that parenting is full of milestones. Some are exciting, like the first time your child takes a dip in a pool. Others are loaded with emotion, like their first day at kindergarten.
Then there are the functional ones, like learning to walk and talk.
But one of the most important toddler milestones is when your little one transitions to a toddler bed.
I know from experience that this can be an emotional time. For me, it signaled that my child was no longer a baby, as their first step towards independence, *sniff*.
For other parents in a similar situation, I’ve put together this post to help you identify the signs that your child is ready for a toddler bed. Because getting your Kid to sleep is already tough enough.
When Do You Transition To A Toddler Bed?
First of all, there are no set rules. Each child develops at their own pace. However, it’s important to note that official guidelines recommend that your baby sleeps in the same room as you for the first six months of its life.
Generally speaking, most children will make the leap from crib to toddler bed between 18 months and three years old.
This can be dependent on several factors, including;
- Your child’s weight and size
- Age limits on your crib (these vary from approx. 9kg up to five years old)
- Whether you’re transitioning your child into another room
- Expecting another child (a friend of mine had two children under two, forcing her oldest to move out of her crib at 18 months)
- The comfort or your child
That said, emerging research suggests that toddlers may, in fact, sleep better if they remain in their cribs until the age of three. That’s because cribs can offer comfort to little ones who enjoy the security that small spaces provide.
Investing in an adjustable crib is advisable since this will evolve with your child. Many on the market are suitable from birth upwards.
Signs That Your Child Is Ready To Move To a Toddler Bed
Some parents instinctively know when it’s time to change to a toddler bed. For the rest of us, it’s a case of paying attention to lots of cues.
If you’re unsure what to look out for, here’s just some of the signs that your child is ready for a toddler bed:
One of the most telling signs is that your child has literally outgrown their crib. If their feet reach the end, their head bumps the top, or if they appear to be uncomfortable, likely, they have physically outgrown their crib.
If your child starts climbing out of their crib, take this to sign that they are ready for the next stage.
If your child’s sleeping habits have changed or regressed, this might be a sign that they are ready for a toddler bed.
Yep, potty training creeps up on you sooner than you think! When your child is learning to go to the toilet independently, the last thing you want to do is restrict their movement at night time.
Problems When Transitioning From Crib To Bed
Unless you’re one of the lucky ones, you might experience some challenges when transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed. Here are a few to look out for:
It’s not uncommon for the first few nights to be exciting and/or daunting for your child. Expect some 2 am wake-up calls and disruption in the night. According to the Sleep Organisation, this will usually wane after two or three weeks.
Falling out of bed
Although toddler beds are made for this age group, children are still getting used to no sides. As such, you might experience a few tumbles in the night.
This is one of the challenges we had and still do. Transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed also means no more sleeping bags. With the freedom of bet sheets, children are prone to kicking them off in the night – this is when long pajamas come in handy!
Recommended Gear To Help The Transition To Toddler Bed
Many parents find bed rails a godsend. A safety-approved toddler rail is a great way of giving your child some security and freedom to get out of their toddler bed. You can even get travel bed rails which are handy for holidays.
For children prone to thrashing around at night, bed clips can help keep bed sheets. Secured with an elasticated band (under the bed), this is a good way of keeping bet sheets in place.
Whilst bed rails are an awesome idea; you may also wish to upgrade to bed bumpers for that extra little bit of security and luxury. Luxury is an excellent friend when you need to ease the transition!
If your child rolls into the bumper, you will know they will get a soft welcome.
My toddler doesn’t get up much for the bathroom at night. However, if yours does, you might want to think about a night light to help them. There are some awesome night lights available to provide comfort in the dark.
Make the transition to a toddler bed easier by using a night light projector to distract your child at bedtime!
Frequently asked questions
- When can my child transition to a toddler bed?
No one rule fits all, however usually, between the age of 18 months and three years old is the right time. Certainly not before six months old.
- Should I sleep in with my toddler during the transition?
It’s best to keep with your existing bedtime routine for a smooth transition. Co-sleeping is a personal choice but may carry some risks, as outlined by The Lullaby Trust.
Some experts suggest that cuddling them to feel safe enough to fall asleep is no bad thing.
- How long should I try before reverting to the crib?
It’s natural for your child to be unsettled for a little while. Please do all you can to make their bedroom an exciting place to be. If, however, you are struggling, then the Babycentre recommends that you can bring your crib back until they feel ready.
Transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed is an exciting and emotional time for parents and children alike.
It’s natural for children to feel overwhelmed at times. However, by looking out for signs that your child is ready for a toddler bed, you will be better placed to move them at the right time. This is best for a smooth transition.
Involve your child in the purchase of the bed and make their room an enjoyable place to be. Finally, keep your existing bedtime routine – if there’s one thing we know about children, it’s that they’re sticklers for familiarity.
Best of luck!