When people ask me if it is a good time to move their child from a crib to a bed my first question is “why do you want to move your child from a crib to the bed?” Often people make this choice for a few reasons including a new baby coming and the new child will need the crib, the child is climbing out of the crib and parents are afraid they will be injured, or they simply think the time has come and they are ready to make the move. In order for the transition to go smoothly you really should know your reasons for making the move. Here are some important factors to consider if you think your child is ready to go from a crib to a bed.
- Your child should be at least 2.5 years of age. Some people have made the switch sooner with no troubles at all but the potential for night time disaster is very high and may lead to some sleepless nights for the whole family. Once they are 2.5-3 years old ( I recommend closer to 3 if you can) they begin to understand behaviour/consequence and helping your child understand expectations is much more realistic.
- If your child is climbing out of the crib it is not a good time to make the switch. If they are climbing out of their crib they are certainly going to be climbing out of their bed and this means having a toddler on the loose in the middle of the night. It is best to get their sleep situation sorted while they are still in the crib before you make the move. Here are some great tips for keeping your child from climbing out of the crib.
- Your child should already be sleeping well through the night. If you are still dealing with sleep issues it is better to deal with them before making the switch. You can visit www.sleepwise.ca to download the 5 Steps to Healthy Sleep.
Once you are certain your child is ready to take this big step you will want to have some things in place to ensure success. Children don’t always like change and although this may seem exciting to you, it may not be for your child. Here are a few ways to make the transition a smooth one.
- Have lots of positive conversations about moving to the big kid bed. Show it to your child before bedtime so they can get excited.
- Let your child help pick out their new bedding. Being a big boy/girl means getting to make choices and this can be very helpful with making them comfortable in their new bed
- Make sure you have a bed rail. Your child is used to being able to move around freely without worrying about falling out of bed. It is important to keep them safe while they discover new boundaries. Here are a few good examples.
- Have a clock in your child’s room that tells them when it is time to get up. You can use a special clock that is designed for this exact purpose such as the Hatch Baby Rest or just use a digital clock and talk to your child about the number 7. You can even post a number 7 beside the clock and let them know they have to wait until they see a 7 to come out of bed.
- Be sure to tell your child to come into mommy and daddy’s room when they wake so they aren’t walking around the house alone in the morning.
There is often a honeymoon period of about a week or sometimes two. Sometimes it takes a while for them to discover that they can actually get out of bed on their own so remember that it usually takes about 2-3 weeks for your child to adjust to any changes in their sleep routine. Consistency is key to a smooth transition