How to make it a smooth transition
• Climbing out of the crib is not necessarily a sign that it is time to transition to a toddler bed.
• Start planting the idea weeks ahead of time.
• Have your child visit with another child who has moved into a toddler bed. Children love to imitate one another.
Moving your baby from a crib to a toddler bed is a big decision, not one to be made on a whim. Knowing when and how to make the transition can mean the difference in failure and success.
Appropriate time for a toddler bed
Parents move their children from cribs starting at age one and a half. While many children are successful in making the move at this age, it is best to wait until they are three or four, instead. There is a better understanding of boundaries by this age.
If the desire to move comes from the fact that your child is crawling out of his crib, there are other solutions you can try before making such a big transition. The following two steps might prevent your little Houdini from escaping.
First, make sure that you have lowered the crib mattress as far as possible. Then, turn your crib so that the highest bar is on the outside. The harder you can make it to climb out, the less you have to worry.
“Keeping a bedtime routine is comforting to a child and can be incredibly helpful during transition periods.”
Make your child part of the decision
Ultimately, the decision is yours. However, if your child feels like he is involved in making the decision, the transition will be smoother. A few weeks before you want to make the move, start talking about the idea and building it up.
If you have a nephew or a friend has a child that just moved to a toddler bed, take your child over for a visit. Many times, seeing someone their age or even a little older doing something new makes them want to do it, as well.
Let him shop with you
When you are ready to shop for a toddler bed, take your child with you. Let him pick out the bed he wants- within reason, of course. This will get him more excited for the change.
If someone is handing down the toddler bed, you can still take him shopping for new sheets and maybe a special pillow. Also, if you have available resources, consider making over his whole bedroom.
Keep a bedtime routine
Keeping a bedtime routine is comforting to a child and can be incredibly helpful during transition periods. One calming routine is to give him a bath, rub him down with lavender-scented baby lotion, and cuddle up for some bedtime stories.
Though your child may take to the toddler bed easily, many have some difficulty- especially the first few nights. Start by making sure there is a night light or hall light on to keep any “monsters” away.
Also, there is a good chance that he will get out of bed at least once. Do not overreact to this. Simply take his hand and take him back to bed.
Do not give up
If you find that your child is simply averse to the idea, do not give up. Some children simply are not ready when we think they should be.
Instead of forcing it at that time, take a break but keep the toddler bed put together. Try not to bring the bed up or pay it any attention. Take the pressure off of your child. You just might find your little guy sound asleep on it one day.
Ask your pediatrician
If for any reason you are still uncertain, ask your child’s pediatrician for their advice. The pediatrician will tell you if there is any reason not to make the move yet, or he will give you the green light to move ahead.
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