It is such a huge milestone to transition from a crib to a toddler bed! Parents usually feel like their baby is no longer a baby, and the toddler is no longer confined to the safety of a crib anymore. It can be a hard transition for everyone. I like easing into changes instead of having them happen literally overnight and practically slapping me in the face with shock.
Here are my method, tips, and tricks for transitioning a child from a crib to a toddler bed:
For my first toddler, we had enough room for a toddler bed as well as her crib in her bedroom. We put her toddler bed in her room across from the crib. This started when she was only 15 or 16 months old. We opted to do a toddler bed since we had a family one passed down to us. It helped to have an extra crib mattress too. If you only have one crib/toddler bed mattress, then try to borrow one for a month or so from a friend. If not, you will just have to be flexible and move around the one that you have.
During the day, my toddler would play in her new toddler bed, bouncing around or reading stories, to get comfortable with it. Once it was set up for about a month (two weeks would probably work too depending on your toddler’s age), we put her to sleep in it for the night.
She was howling mad! Back to the crib she went! Then we tried again in a week and she went down easily and that was that. Afterwards, we did a week more of naps in her crib to help make the transition smoother. Of course we praised her for sleeping in her big kid bed throughout the process.
- If using different bedding in the toddler bed, I suggest making sure it is in the toddler bed from the start. Sometimes a night light in the room helps as well. Some toddlers may enjoy a sound machine to go to bed.
- Try to make the bedtime routine as similar as before with the only change being the different bed. If you’re using a twin bed, make sure that it is low to the ground and has a bit of a rail on the side to prevent your toddler from falling out. We tucked our toddler bed along the wall to help close it in a bit.
- Double check the room to make sure furniture is anchored to the wall and plugs are covered in case your child wanders out of bed. Keep toys down to a minimum to discourage your toddler from getting out of bed. I kept a few books nearby for my daughter who likes to look at pictures before going to sleep.
Our approach let our toddler think it was her idea. It is something new and exciting as well. Time flies by so fast when they are little! Embrace each milestone and cherish it while it lasts.