Is your toddler ready for a toddler bed? If your little one is climbing out of the crib it is a sign that you need to start switching your toddler into a toddler bed.
How do you go about making the change and help your toddler transition?
You just put your toddler to bed when you hear little feet coming down the hall to your room. You panic for a minute and in your head you know it is time to make the big change.
It’s hard to transition especially for parents because now your toddler has the ability to get up and roam around. Don’t worry momma I got you covered!
Switching Your Toddler from Crib into toddler bed
We just went through this with my son and here is a gentle way to transition and not have a lot of tears in the process.
The one thing I am going to say is that we waited to long to switch our son, he never climbed out or even attempted to until he was almost three.
I recommend that if this is your child you may want to think about transitioning around the age of three or even younger so that it is a little easier on both of you.
It’s all up to you as a parent and what works for you though so don’t feel like you have to make the switch right away until you feel your child can handle it and you are ready for this new phase.
When Should You Transition Your Toddler To A Bed
According to pregnancybirth&baby most children move to a toddler bed at 18 months to 3 1/2 years old.
There is no set time to make the switch but if your little one is trying to climb out and could get hurt in the process then it’s time to switch to a toddler bed.
It all depends on your child and their physical skills, some children aren’t ready until they are late into their threes.
We didn’t make the switch because our toddler simply wasn’t trying to get out and it was working for us, though I do regret not making the switch sooner.
How do you transition to a toddler bed
Here are a few tips to help you get started on making the transition.
Don’t be surprised if your toddler doesn’t embrace the idea right away, they grew up in the crib and it is safe and comfortable.
Try to be patient with them and give your little one choices so that they feel special and a part of the process.
Something to consider is that making the switch shouldn’t be done when you have big life changes like a new baby or you just moved.
Wait a little bit before making the transition when things have calmed down a bit.
I can say this from experience because we switched our toddler a month after our new baby was born and it has been hard on him. The crib is still in his room even though he doesn’t sleep in it!
Toddlers can be possessive of their stuff when having a new sibling.
Have your toddler be part of the process
One of the best ways to make a smoother transition is to have your toddler pick out a new bed.
If you give them choices and help them feel comfortable it will be a little easier.
- Have your toddler pick out the bed they like
- Choose a cute sheet set that they love, our son loves sesame street so we got this Elmo sheet set and he loves it!
- Read books on making the transition just like you would if you were potty training
- Talk about it and any fears they may have
Set up the bed in toddlers room
Get the toddler bed all set up and have it be in the room so that your toddler gets comfortable with it and knows this is his new bed.
Have your toddler help if they can, this will make it easier for them to want to sleep in it.
We had the toddler bed set up and in his room for a few weeks, he would want to sleep in it sometimes and then decide he wanted to be in his crib.
It’s ok if it takes them a while to get used to it, don’t rush the process.
Another way to make it a little easier on your little one is if your crib converts into a toddler bed.
This keeps the familiar space but allows some extra freedom and you may find that it is a whole lot easier to keep him in bed.
We have a crib that does that but want to use it for the baby so we didn’t go this route honestly, I think for our son with his dislike for change it might have been easier for him to transition this way.
Just another one of those parenting moments when you want to kick yourself for not thinking of it sooner but you can’t now because you already made the switch.
make sure your child is sleep trained before you start
You will need to have a set bedtime routine and schedule that you stick to in order for this to go a little smoother.
Sleep training is so important for success and peace of mind for you. Please do this before hand so that you don’t have a toddler that is up all night playing and turning on the lights two seconds after you have them in bed.
If you haven’t started sleep training this article will help you start doing it Sleep Training Your 1 Year Old
Make it a big deal
Make the new change to the toddler bed a big deal, talk about it a lot and get your little one excited about it.
Talk about how wonderful it is and how much they will like it, make them feel comfortable with the idea so that when the day comes it won’t be as hard.
If you are transitioning your second child it should be much easier because they will want to be like their older sibling and tends to go smoother.
Read books like “A Big Kid Bed is Coming” so that they understand how it works and feels more comfortable.
what to do when toddler gets out of bed
Once you have your toddler in bed for the first time it’s going to take some time.
They will get out of bed and explore which is perfectly okay, this is expected.
When your toddler gets out of bed, stay calm (extremely important for a smoother transition) take them by the hand and put them back in bed.
Reassure your toddler that you love them and it’s time to go to sleep.
If they keep getting up which they probably will keep bringing them back to bed and tucking them in.
Sometimes it works better if you don’t say anything and simply put them back in bed.
Here are some tips you could try that worked for us.
- Sit next to the bed facing away from them and every time your toddler gets out of bed put them back in, don’t talk just keep doing it.
- Once they get the point that they have to be in bed you can leave the room and repeat the steps if they come out of the bedroom.
In some ways it’s almost like sleep training, you are slowly but gently letting them know it’s bedtime and this is your bed.
This is going to be the hardest part of the transition in my opinion and from my own experience. It does work especially on children that don’t like any change like my son.
Whatever you do don’t freak out and yell or let your frustration come through, calmly and firmly put them back in bed.
With our 4 year old (just turned four) it took about two to three weeks to have a smooth bedtime without him getting up and coming out of his room.
Final thoughts on transitioning your toddler into a toddler bed
Making a transition to a toddler bed is a big milestone for toddlers like potty training and giving up the pacifier is going to take a little time and patience.
Stick with the same routine and stay consistent, this is the only way your toddler will get the idea and not try to take advantage to get more stories or another drink.
They will test you and see what they can get away with especially if your child is 3.5 to 4 years old (one of the toughest ages when it comes to this).
Give your child lots of love and reassurance and know that you are doing the best you can, this is a hard transition but this to shall pass.
You got this momma! If you have any more tips on what worked for you leave them in the comments.
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