Going through the phases of having an infant to a toddler to a child can be tricky, especially for new parents. Many people tend to be overcautious because they have never done anything like this before, while others don’t even know where to be cautious in the first place.
One of the trickiest areas of parenting, apart from potty training, of course, is sleep. Getting your child into a routine, making them comfortable when they sleep, making sure they’re safe, and upgrading to a bigger bed at the right time are all part of the equation.
But when is the right time to do so? Going from the crib to a bed can be scarier for parents than it is for the toddler. The safety and security are gone, and it’s just another realization that your child is growing up.
What is a Toddler Bed?
A toddler bed is a next step to transitioning your child to their own bed. It’s a smaller-sized bed that can fit into the same space as a crib, only it’s constructed the same way as regular bed frames. This helps them transition into a bigger twin-sized bed frame later on.
The age for when a toddler is ready to swap from crib to bed varies between every child. Some children might be ready at 18 months while others as late as 3 years old. This is perfectly fine, as every child develops a broader comfort zone at a different rate.
How to Tell Your Child is Ready for a Toddler Bed
There are many tell-tale signs to watch that your child is officially ready to move from a crib to their own toddler bed. Once these begin to pattern, it’s time to consider some shopping along with a “big-kid” talk, when preparing for the transition.
- One sign is that they are attempting to climb out of their bed. While this does display development and curiosity, it can be dangerous to the child if they fall out and hurt themselves.
- Another time to consider an easier bed to climb out of is when you’re potty training them. When nature calls in the middle of the night, you don’t want bars keeping your un-diapered child from the bathroom. A toddler bed is easier to climb out of and doesn’t require you to wake up with them.
- An obvious indication is when your child is too large to fit comfortably in their crib. It’s uncomfortable for them, and it only encourages them to climb out of their crib more. There is the risk of them hurting themselves within the crib as well as hurting themselves when trying to climb out of the crib.
- Finally, there is the situation in which another baby is on the way. You don’t want your child to feel like they’re being kicked out of the crib, but you don’t want to buy another crib either. It’s best to start the transition early so that your child feels it’s a part of them being an older sibling and bigger kid.
Safety Tips for Your Toddler Bed
It’s true, a toddler bed isn’t going to be the safest bed for first-timers, but there are ways to make it safer for your child. Here are some things you can do to make your child’s new toddler bed safer.
— Guard Rails
This is the easiest and best way to keep your child from falling off the bed. Some frames come with the rails upon purchase while others you have to buy additional rails for. The rails aren’t too high, which allows your toddler to independently climb into bed and out of it whenever they need to.
— Soft Surroundings
If you’re not going to invest in guard rails or you know your child is active enough to render your guard rails useless, then make your child’s bedroom a safe space. Place a plush, soft carpet all over the floor, have pillows or plushies around the bed. In case they fall off, they’ll have a gentle landing.
Yes, your toddler is not a baby anymore, but they will find a way to make everything around them dangerous. Mount dressers to the wall, make sure they have nothing to climb, fall off of, hurt themselves with, and there are no open sockets nearby or plugged-in electronics which can present a hazard.
How to Prepare for the Transition to a Bed
Now, it’s time to see how to prepare your child for their new bed’s arrival. Keep in mind, toddlers may not take change well at all, or they may love the idea of something new. It all depends on the child, so be patient.
- The bed has to be low to the ground. If you’re uncomfortable with them being above the ground, then place a mattress on the floor for a while. Once they adjust to the mattress’s shape and size and stop rolling off, you can move them to the bed frame. Never have a standard bed height to start with since the fall can hurt.
- Rather than telling them to start sleeping in their new bed right away, have them take small steps towards being comfortable. If they’re tired in the afternoon, have them take a nap in their bed. Once they’re adjusted to naps, ask them if they want to sleep in the bed at night. Let them slowly move towards a fondness for their bed.
- Make sure your routine is consistent. Everything you did with your child before, make sure you still do it with them. The only change in their life at the moment should be the bed. If you try to change their routine, their diet, their wardrobe, all at the same time, they’ll be too intimidated and might feel anxious or scared. One step at a time, that’s the best way to go.
- When it’s time to consider the new bed, sit your child down and have a pleasant conversation about how they’re moving to the big-kid bed and they’re becoming older, so there will be more things exclusively for them.
- Let your kid choose bedding, pillows, blankets, colors, and plushies for the bed. Don’t restrict them, since this is a big change in their life. They should feel in charge, happy, and excited for the change rather than feeling it was chosen for them.
Your toddler is moving up in life with a new bed. Though it seems small, it’s the biggest thing in the world for them at that time. Once you’ve detected it’s the right time, then prepare accordingly and take the necessary precautions. It’s a change you and your child have to go through hand-in-hand.
If you know other people who are going through the same infant-to-toddler change, then be sure to share this article with others and comment with your thoughts and tricks you’d like to share with us and other readers.
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