|Once your child is able to climb out of his crib, it is time to move him into a toddler bed. If your child is three feet tall, you may want to move him to a toddler bed even if he isn't climbing out of his crib. The usual age is about eighteen months to two years.
Moving to a toddler bed can be stressful for many children and it is a significant milestone in their development.
Some tips to ease the transition to a toddler bed include:
- let her be involved in picking out the new bed and if possible, let her pick out some new bedding with her favorite characters on it and then put these on her new bed.
- put the new bed in her room for a few months to help her get used to it
- start her bedtime routine in her new toddler bed and then, if she wants, move her to her crib when she is finally ready to go to sleep.
- let her take her daytime naps in the toddler bed
- take as many things from her crib and continue to use them in her bed and as part of her bedtime routine
- let her sleep on the crib mattress on the floor for a few nights
- move the new bed into the position in the room that her crib was in, but you would likely have to take her crib down first
One of the most important things to avoid is trying to move your toddler into a bed during a stressful time, such as after the arrival of a new sibling, moving, starting a new daycare, beginning potty training, etc. Try to plan the move to a bed so that it won't be at the same time as other events that may add to the stress.
Another helpful tip for giving up something like a crib or bottle, etc. is making a big deal about how the 'baby' needs the 'baby bed' now, and as a 'big girl', she is supposed to give them to the baby and move to her 'big girl' bed. This can backfire though if it makes her resent having to give the things away.
Moving to a toddler bed is a big milestone for most children and it can be stressful for them. Be sure to give her extra attention during this transition and try and stick to your bedtime routine so that you don't create any new sleep problems.
If she is really resistant to sleeping in her new bed and getting rid of her crib, then as long as she isn't climbing out of it, you can wait a few months and try again. Keep talking about it and eventually limit her naps to the bed.
If you have to get her moved to a toddler bed, either because you did need the crib for a new baby or she is climbing out of it, then taking it apart and/or putting it away may make it less of a reminder.
Are you considering a move to a bunk bed? Keep in mind that children under age 6 years should not be allowed to sleep on the top bunk of a bunk bed. See our guide to bunk bed safety for more information.