By Kaitlin Carpenter
Dec 6, 2018
You and your toddler both probably wish you could keep them cocooned in their crib for the rest of their life. It’s not hard to imagine why. For you, a crib keeps your child safely contained, keeping them from exploring at inconvenient or dangerous times and surrounding them with everything they need. It’s also a safe haven for them — a comfortable place your toddler can sleep and play.
But babies grow. And soon enough, they outgrow cribs. They learn to climb. New siblings arrive. Pretty soon, that cocoon seems cramped and it’s time to make the transition from crib to big kid bed. But when’s the right time to transition your child from their crib to a bed, and how can you help them through the process?
The biggest concern most parents have when it comes to making the crib-to-bed transition is safety. While most kids can easily make the transition between 18 months and 3 1/2 years, it really depends on your child.
If at all possible, try to wait until your child is closer to 3 years old to give them a chance to develop the maturity it takes to stay in a big bed at night. If your child is climbing out of their crib, consider moving the crib mattress to the lowest level before moving your child to a bed. If your child’s crib mattress is on the lowest level and they’re still climbing out of their crib, it’s probably time to make the move, since your child could injure themselves as they climb out of or into their crib.
If you’re having another baby, it might be time to switch your toddler to a new bed so the crib will be available. You should try to make the switch at least 6-8 weeks before your new baby is due. This will give your toddler enough time to get used to the new bed and not make them feel like the new baby is taking their bed.
Depending on your child’s age, you may also consider borrowing or buying another crib. Having a new baby is going to leave you with little sleep. If your toddler isn’t ready for a bed, that means less sleep for everyone. Instead, decide if your toddler is truly ready for a bed, and don’t be afraid to keep them in a crib if that’s best for them.
You’ve decided it’s time to move your toddler from their crib to a new bed. As most parents know, making big changes in your toddler’s life can be stressful for both of you. Instead of jumping into the transition, take some time to prepare you and your child for the move.