Moving your toddler from their crib into a bed can be harder than you think. There are a number of things you can do to help your toddler love their bed as much as they loved their crib. We have put a guide together that should help you if you decide if this is the right time, and if so, how to make it as easy as possible.
1. Find the right time for your toddler.
Many parents rush out and buy a bed when their toddler has climbed out of their crib. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are ready to leave their crib. You can lower the base of the crib so the sides are higher than previously. Some parents find their toddler is simply too big for their crib or too active. There is no right age or answer as to when is the right time. Trust your own feelings and prepare to move them to a big bed when you think it is necessary.
2. Keep your regular bedtime routine.
If you have already established a regular bedtime routine, try to keep it going. If you have found that bath, story then bed works for your toddler, then keep this same routine every night, even when they have moved into their big bed. Your child will already be familiar with this process and it will make the transition easier.
3. Place their bed in the exact same place their crib used to be.
Place their big bed in the same place that their crib used to be. This means that they will fall asleep and wake up in the same surroundings with the same view they used to wake up with in their crib. This will make them feel safe as they will know exactly where they are. It will also help if you put their crib blanket in their bed as they will already be familiar and feel safe with it.
4. Take your toddler shopping.
If you encourage your toddler to choose their bed or bedding, they may get excited and want to go to bed, knowing that it was something they choose themselves. Some toddlers also like to show off their new beds if they have chosen it themselves. This should not stop you putting their crib blanket in with them to sleep with. Their crib blanket is something they have already made an attachment with. They may feel safe and secure knowing their crib blanket is with them.
5. Bedtime Safety.
Don’t forget to put a bed rail up. In their crib, your toddler had railings to keep them in and keep them safe. There are no railings in their big beds and we don’t want anyone falling out of their bed, especially when they are just getting used to it. Remember, this needs to be a positive experience for your toddler. They also keep your toddler in bed, meaning fewer walk-a-bouts at night time to see where you are. They do love their new-found freedom. It may take them a few nights to realise that once they are put to bed, they need to stay in it. There will be a lot of walking your toddler back to their bed. Good luck!
6. It may take a while for your toddler to adjust.
Your toddler is having to adjust to a lot of changes around this age. They may be starting nursery, potty training and are having to ‘grow up’. Toddlers all have different ways of adjusting. Some may have a hard time of it, and others might love their bed as soon as they get in it. Read up about how to help the transition, and it’s not a crime to stay with your toddler until they fall asleep. After a few weeks, they will have adjusted and you will be able to put them to bed without climbing in with them. This is a big change for them. Be patient.
7. Positive acknowledgement.
Moving from a crib to a bed needs to be a positive experience. Every time your toddler gets into their big bed, praise them. When they sleep the whole night through in their big bed, praise them. Make them feel like it’s such a big achievement for them and praising them is a way of letting them know they are doing well.
8. Sometimes it’s too soon.
You’ve bought your toddler their own bed, and put the bed sheets on that they chose themselves, only they still aren’t settling. You can give them a few days, try different things, read stories about getting a big bed. Sometimes, your toddler may not be as ready as you think they are, and that’s okay. Everyone develops at different times. Put the crib back into its original spot and let your toddler grow a little before trying the bed again. Some toddlers aren’t ready yet.