Making the Transition from Crib to Toddler Bed w/Modern Motherhood

Transitioning From a Crib to a Tot Bed with Modern Motherhood

It seems like just yesterday that you were cradling your tiny newborn in your arms, rocking him or her to sleep, and wondering when (if ever!) he/she would sleep through theentirenight.  Now that your baby has grown into a full-fledged toddler, you may be thinking about the next exciting sleep phase in their young life: transitioning from the crib to a toddler bed.

The graduation from crib into a toddler bed can be exciting and scary all at once.  After all, will your kid ever sleep again once he/she discovers the newfound freedom of a bed without confinement?  You may have visions of your tot roaming about the house at night or eating unlimited amounts of candy from the cabinet!  Don’t worry, everything you’re feeling is totally normal and we are right there with you.  More importantly, we want you to know that transitioning into a toddler bed is a milestone that is full of positives.  Not only will your child gain new coping skills, he/she will develop a greater sense of independence.

Crib to Toddler Bed: Timing

Some parents make the switch out of necessity to make space for a baby on the way, while others do it as a safety measure.  Once your child is standing up in the crib, it is time to start thinking about the transition. Do not wait until your child can get out of the crib on his/her own!

When should you consider moving your child from the crib to a toddler bed?

Is your kiddo mature enough to handle the responsibility of such freedom? Kids feel safe in their crib; it’s a familiar space, cozy and snug.  When they move into a toddler bed, they may no longer feel “protected” by the space, which offers safety within the confines of the crib’s slatted sides. What’s more, they have a better view of their “big kid room” and all of the fun stuff that’s now within arm’s reach.  Resisting the temptation to play with toys, or possibly venturing out of their bedroom can be overwhelming.

An article was recently published in the journal ofSleep Medicine, which states that when parents wait to move their kids into a big kid bed until they’re 3 years old,everyone— parents and toddlers alike — get better sleep.

All in all, it seems that 3-year-old children tend to be less resistant to bedtime, have fewer night awakenings and sleep for longer periods of time.  Not to mention, a 3-year-old is more likely to  understand “staying in bed at night” rules. That’s why most sleep experts agree; don’t rush it.  Some kids seem ready at 18 months while others not until age 4.  But if your child doesn’t show any interest in getting out of the crib, it’s okay to keep him/her there untilthey are ready to make the transition. Bottom line: There is no hurry.

What to Transition to? 

When it comes to toddler beds, there are a couple different options.  You can put your child straight into a big kid bed, a smaller bed that has no rails, or you can put them in a crib style bed that only has a partial opening, 

Here are a fewMilk Street Crib to Toddler Bed Examples Down Below: 

Studies have shown that when your child is first transitioning into a toddler bed,  it can be comforting to them to keep the same bed, and replacing the front rail from the full crib front with the tot conversion rail, which allows an opening.  By using the tot rail, there is minimal worry about a child falling out of the bed, and no large room configurations needed to fit new furniture.  The child will also have the same smells, and tactile experiences.  In addition, toddler beds are designed with the needs of toddlers in mind.  The rails help them feel safe.  Toddler-size beds are much ower to the floor than most single beds.

If your crib doesn't come with conversion options, look into getting a transitional bed that grows with them!  This will help you save money in the long run! 

If you're currently in the market for some transitional beds, Milk Street has some great options!  You can find the different styleshere

Childproofing the Room

The first thing to do is to make sure outlets are covered, dressers and bookshelves are bolted to the wall, cords are out of reach, and to remove any other potential safety hazards from their room. If you are unsure, ask a friend who has made this transition to come take a look at the space. A second opinion from a seasoned parent never hurts! 

Before putting your child to sleep in his/her new bed for the first time,  go through a nap- time/bedtime routine to put them in the mindset that it is time for sleep.  This routine could consist of taking a bath, reading a book, singing a lullaby, etc. 

If you happen to have a child that doesn't like to follow the "staying in bed" rules, I recommend trying out the nightlight system!  Get a nightlight that can change colors at certain times and put it in their room!  My personal favorite is theHatch Restore. Set the nightlight to change colors at the time you would like them to get out of bed, and teach them that they cannot get out of bed until it shows that color!  It may take a little getting used to, but this system has worked great for me! 

Your child’s transition from a crib into a toddler bed can be a little daunting, but overall, it is an  exciting time!  Enjoy it, and don't be too hard on yourself if it takes a few tries to get it right! 

Thanks so much for reading! 

Be sure to check out the last blog post here:Preparing Kids for Back-to-School - Tips from Modern Motherhood


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