Is there a set time to transition your child from crib to bed?
As with other milestones, moving from crib to bed differs from child to child. Most little ones are not usually ready till they are about 3 years old, so that might be a good time to try the transition.
There are various reasons parents make the switch from bed to crib. For some, they are worried that their little one might climb out of his crib, while some are making the switch because of the arrival of another cutie, and still some parents just want to free up the space. While all these are valid reasons to make the switch, it is important to be sure your little one is ready for the switch and to help with the transition.
How to help with the transition to bed
For parents worried about the safety of their child, try not rushing into the switch if your child is still too young, instead, lower the crib mattress as far as possible, so the side rails are relatively higher, making it more difficult for him to climb over. With the method, you should be able to buy yourself some more time pending when he is ready for the switch.
To the next group of parents, to make the transition smooth and to give enough time for your toddler to be used to his new bed, make the switch at least six weeks before you are due. This should be enough time for him to be used to his new bed and not be angry that another little one has taken over “his” bed. You can also delay the switch till your new born is about 3 months if your toddler still needs time. Your newborn will probably still be sleeping in a bassinet around that time and so your toddler has time to adjust to the new baby.
It is not unusual for your toddler to refuse to make the transition even when you think he should be ready. It just might be too much for your child to handle at that time as it may coincide with other changes happening in his life, such as toilet-training, starting preschool and other changes. Every child is different, so treat yours with the time and patience that he needs.
You may notice that your toddler starts getting possessive of his things, including his crib especially when a newborn has joined the family. This happens to a number of children, to ease the transition, put your toddler’s new bed where his crib used to be, and if he likes it, continue using his old blankets, even if it is too small. Get him excited about having a bed by taking him with you to pick out the bed himself if you’re buying it new or by telling about the previous owner especially if he knows the owner. For example. “This was your cousin’s bed, and now it’s yours! You’re almost as big as him now!” Let him shop with you for new sheets and favourite toys and encourage him to show his latest bed to family and friends.
Another way is to throw a “bed” party for the big reveal. Let him in on the party details and let him choose the theme and food. Ask him to personally invite the party guests. Just make it “a big deal” for him.
If you think that requires too much work, you can buy a “toddler bed”. They usually come with a crib mattress, but look like a regular bed. Many come with built-in guardrails, and some are made in very appealing themes and shapes.
If you’ve tried all you can and your toddler still doesn’t want his new bed, bring the crib back. Some toddlers just are not ready for a bed. It takes a certain amount of cognitive development for your child to understand that a bed has imaginary boundaries that he must stay within.
Take your time to enjoy the process as well(even if it seems you’re getting no where). Watch him grow, give him time and reintroduce the bed.