Many parents ask me how they know when it is the right time to move their little one from the crib to a toddler bed. Unfortunately the answer is going to be different for everyone because every child is different. The good news is that you will figure it out.
Any new stage and transition in your child’s life is difficult (for you both), but in time, it all settles in and makes perfect sense. As always, Mommy Masters is here to support you and offer you tips and guidance during this big change.
When it comes to our kids, safety is the number one priority and lack of, is your first sign that it may be time to ditch the crib. Ask yourself this question. Is your child climbing in and out of his crib on his own? If the answer is yes, then it is time. A child can easily injure himself while attempting to get out, especially if the floor below is tile or wood. You also do not want your toddler wandering around by himself in the middle of the night.
If your child is potty trained and is waking you up to take him to the bathroom, it is time for a toddler bed. While you may still need to assist him to the bathroom in the middle of the night, it is good to know he can take himself as he gets more comfortable. If you have stairs, ensure you have a baby gate so your child is safe in case of a sleepy walk to the potty.
A Need for the Current Crib:
If you have a baby on the way and you will be needing the crib or have a friend or family member waiting to use it, the switch might be made earlier than needed. It is always important to ensure the decision to move to a toddler bed is not a premature one or a mistake. As much as you do not want to invest in two cribs or have your friend or family member wait a bit longer than needed, you have to make sure this decision makes sense for your child.
There is no magic age that a child should make the switch. The general rule of thumb is to start thinking about it at around 18 months but there are plenty of kids who are three and still sleeping in a crib.
Do not compare yourself to other parents and what their kids are doing. Remember that every child develops differently and is ready for this big change at various times in their early lives. It is great to get advice from other parents but what works for them will not always work for you and vice versa.
If your child has older siblings, they will most likely want to emulate them and could show interest in a toddler bed sooner than later. While it is fun to sleep with siblings, once you expose them to a bed, it will be difficult to get back to the crib if you are not completely ready for the change.
Once you make the switch and it does not go well, figure out why. Was it too early and your child is not ready yet? Is he getting out of his bed too often? Is it your issue and not your child’s? Do you wish you could have held on to the baby stage a little longer? Do you need to be more patient? If you keep shifting back and forth between crib and bed, it sends the message to your child that he has options and eventually, you will have a hard time explaining that the toddler bed is the only option. Make a choice and stick with it. Things may be difficult in the beginning but your little one will eventually adjust to his new settings and so will you.
If your toddler expresses interest in a bed, he may be ready. If he is older than 18 months and you are comfortable with trading one for another, then go for it.
If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix it:
If there are no issues with the crib, your child is safe, sleeping well and not complaining, there is no reason to move him. Kids grow so quickly, so do not be in such a rush to push them onto the next stage.
As we all know in parenting, there is no rule book. Only you and your child will know when it is the right time for a bed.
On a personal note, I just moved my three year old into a toddler bed this week. It gives him more freedom, which is going to take a little getting used to on both our ends, but it was time. He was calling me during nap time and at bed time to take him to the bathroom, otherwise, I would have kept him in his crib. Since he never jumped out and slept really well in there, it was a tough choice but the right choice.
The first night, it was definitely bitter sweet watching him sleeping in the big boy bed that his brothers used just a few years back. I was so proud of my little guy and he was so happy and excited about his bed. On the other hand, I could not believe it was time to retire the crib already…but it was.
Head on over to the Mommy Masters Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/mommymasters) and tell us about your child’s transition to a toddler bed. We want to hear from YOU because we all can learn from each other.
Remember…TOGETHER WE CAN MASTER MOTHERHOOD!™